January 26, 2008

Ollie///Beauty is the actors feelings...

A show where the end appears to be the beginning...

Over the recent weeks I have been watching Damages on BBC1, a new legal drama from FX. It started all the way back in July last year, and a second and third season have been commissioned, just as soon as the WGA strike is over. The on-going plot line surrounds the court case against Arthur Frobisher, in a situation similar to that of Enron, Frobisher is accused of insider trading and lying to his workers about the status of his company even as he sold of his stock.

This is where Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) comes in, a big shot lawyer with a big shot firm, and her only option is to win. Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne), a newly minted lawyer is offered a job at Hewes & Associates, what she does not know is that although her new employer is one of the best in the industry, Patty's workings are usually unethical.

From the opening 30 seconds of the pilot, we are shown a half naked Ellen, running from an apartment, she is arrested but won't talk without a lawyer, this is when we are taken several months back to her being hired by Hewes.

One of my music recommendations for the month is The VLA- When I Am Through With You, the theme to Damages. This song, perfectly mirrors the deception and the darker side of litigation, as seen in the show. With the drum beats in time to flashes of NYC, the theme not only gives the audience a sense of whats to come but also, a little bit of audience expectation. What they don't know is that all their expectations are not only going to be ignored, they are going to be surpassed.

Glenn Close, heads the cast of Damages and what a fine job she does. Not appearing on out small screens since her season four appearance in the FX police show, The Wire (currently in it's sixth season), she manages to captivate all the show sets out to do. What I love about Close's fine skills as an actress is the way that she looks even more beautiful when she is playing a character. She puts all her effort into making sure that we, as the audience, understand how she if feeling and if her character wants to betray on screen, we, too off screen will feel betrayed.

Her face mimics the feelings of the character as we view her emotions. Over the years, Close has had many different roles, from being the bunny boiler in Fatal Attraction to the dog hating, clothes loving Cruella de Ville in 101/102 Dalmations. Yet, she can perfectly take a role, however small or large and make sure that she is noticed. Now, that is not a negative criticism, she is not an attention seeker, she does not want her character to over outshine another, but through her facial expressions, her posture and her gestures, she manages to clasp onto our attention and manipulate all expectations we have of her, either the dramatic Close or the comedic Close, we forget her past and see her as the character she plays now.

As Patty Hewes, Close's vision of a Machiavellian type of character contrasts beautifully with Byrne's bright and sharp graduate. Adding this strong cast is Ted Danson as Frobisher, a charismatic self-made billionaire, Noah Bean as Ellen's fiancee, David Connor, Tate Donovan as Patty's advisor, Shayes and Ċ½eljko Ivanek as Frobisher's manipulative attorney, Ray Fiske.

Comprising of themes, not just to do with law but also family and safety, Damages is not one to be missed.

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