Giri/Haji (by Joe Barton, 2020) – A Tokyo detective arrives in London when he is tasked to find his brother, whose alleged crime sends ripples across the two cities.
Tokyo detective Kenzo Mori (Takehiro Hira) travels to Soho in search of his estranged brother Yuto (Yosuke Kubozuka), whose alleged murder of a Yazuka family member ignites an all-out gang war. The incident sets the Yakuza on a collision course with the Met Police, embroiling others along the way.
In an endless sea of British crime dramas, Giri/Haji stands out by a mile. It is for one, an adventurous cultural exchange. Shuttling between Japan and the UK, the unique series takes its time to understand the minutiae of foreign traditions, respectful and never exploitative.
The contrast in cultures is interesting, though it is ultimately the similarities that fascinate the most. In his story, Joe Barton recognises the experiences that are neither uniquely Japanese nor British, but simply human.
Continue reading Series Review: Giri/Haji (2020)
Animal Kingdom (by Jonathan Lisco, 2016) – After the death of his mother, 17-year-old Joshua Cody moves in with his relatives for the start of a new, reckless life.
Fraught with danger and tension, Animal Kingdom makes waves in the gritty drama scene with intriguing family dynamics.
Miss The Sopranos? Meet the Codys. The family-affair crime syndicate is set to turn devious manipulation into an art. Adapted from David Michôd’s critically acclaimed film, Animal Kingdom presents a suburban underworld thriving in plain view, where Janine ‘Smurf’ Cody (Ellen Barkin) leads the pack.
The story begins the same way, with the matriarch adopting her teenage grandson J (Finn Cole) after his mother dies of a heroin overdose. J eases into the shady family business, where his uncle Baz (Scott Speedman) calls the shots. That is until Janine’s eldest son Pope (Shawn Hatosy) returns from prison, looking to regain his hold on the reins.
Continue reading Series Review: Animal Kingdom (2016)