Published on November 5th, 2010 | by Yellow Magpie2
Love/Hate TV Review: Cutting-Edge Irish Drama That Shows The True Side Of Crime
Writer: Stuart Carolan.
Cast: Aidan Gillen, Robert Sheehan, Ruth Bradley, and Brian Gleeson.
Love/Hate is a new departure for Irish drama, or any drama for that matter as a radical cutting-edge series makes waves.
This is the first Irish RTE production to properly explore gangland activity and the first to peer beneath our cliches and prejudices to glimpse what life is really like for drug lords in Ireland.
Love/Hate is centred on Darren Tracey, wonderfully played by Robert Sheehan, a man who decides to temporarily return to Dublin from Spain. Tracey’s circumstances change and he is forced to stay in Dublin. Meanwhile he is seduced by the large money that working for crime boss John Boy Power, an intelligent but ruthless operator, ensures. Darren gets sucked more and more into the drug gang as his world starts to spiral dangerously out of control.
‘Love/Hate’s young actors may leave a more indelible mark in future years to come.’
Life has a tendency to never work out according to plan and a cocaine deal goes badly wrong leaving Darren to make some very difficult decisions in the aftermath of loosing his beloved brother who was just recently released from prison.
The cast of Love/Hate have a natural ability on camera. Spearheaded by the experienced Aidan Gillen of The Wire, Love/Hate’s young actors may leave a more indelible mark in future years to come.
‘Sheehan constantly refuses to overdo the emotional stakes’
Even with Gillen’s presence the star of the series is undoubtedly Sheehan who exudes a magnetic draw. His understated performance as Darren is perhaps one of the most challenging things an actor can do. To his great credit, Sheehan constantly refuses to overdo the emotional stakes despite the series have many charged scenes. By doing so, he makes his character come alive.
Other honorable mentions must go to Brian Gleeson who, despite having a very familiar face and even more famous father, excels as the psychotically unhinged brother of John Boy.
‘The dark palette creates a foreboding sense of dread as the Irish landscape imposes itself’
Love/Hate is certainly an ensemble performance and unusually for a TV series there doesn’t appear to be any weak links. The realism of the production is mainly due to two things, the scriptwriting talents of Stuart Carolyn, whose dialogue is sharp and natural and the wonderful camera-work.
The cinematography of the series is extremely faithful to the Irish climate. The outdoor shots are harsh and dark, something all too familiar to people who have frequented Ireland. The dark palette creates a foreboding sense of dread as the Irish landscape imposes itself, dominating the setting in the process.
Although, as one prominent Sunday Newspaper noted, the cast does seem quite pulchritudinous for a criminal gang, this is a necessary sin in a world which holds beauty in such high regard. But perhaps more so, this criticism is an act of misdirection. The real issue is whether or not the series is glorifying criminal behaviour.
‘We are more content to pretend to ourselves that these are sub-humans as opposed to real people.’
This is a difficult question to answer because as soon as a series portrays criminals that are more than one-dimensional cardboard cut-outs it runs the risk of being a sanitised distortion of reality. We are more content to pretend to ourselves that these are sub-humans as opposed to real people.
Love/Hate casts aside these illusions and what we get are complex, fully-formed personalities who have access to a world that promises much in the way of quick, easy money.
In the world of Love/Hate the gang characters can have the weddings of their dreams. The money to buy what they want, but all this can be taken away instantly. The crux of the matter is that their prosperity is built on sand and constant fear. At any time a strong wind threatens to blow and leave them with nothing, not even their lives and they worst part is that they are aware of this. The characters of Love/Hate smile earnestly at their colleges all the while waiting for their fate to catch up with them.
Highly Recommended Get The Series Through Amazon
You can obtain Love/Hate from Amazon here.