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TV review: Sundance Channel’s ‘Top of the Lake’

Elisabeth Moss hunts for a missing girl in Top of the Lake.

The Details

Top of the Lake
Three and a half stars
Mondays, 10 p.m., Sundance Channel
Premieres March 18, 9 p.m.

Filmmaker Jane Campion (The Piano, Bright Star) brings her considerable talents to TV with the Sundance Channel original series Top of the Lake, an excellent piece of drama that would be at home on HBO or AMC.

AMC could actually learn a thing or two from this show, which gets right much of what The Killing got wrong: Over the course of its seven episodes, it follows a single crime (the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old girl in a small New Zealand town), focusing on the investigators (including Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss as the troubled lead detective), the family members and the various inhabitants of the town.

Holly Hunter overdoes it as the eccentric guru of a commune on the edge of town, but otherwise the acting is superb, and Campion expertly weaves examinations of gender politics and rural isolationism into the meticulous procedural narrative.


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  • The film features Sylvester Stallone’s best performance in a long time.

  • Not surprisingly for Pixar, the animation is gorgeous to look at, and it’s solid, pleasurable entertainment for kids.

  • Eilis is a good person who deserves a good life, and even through her occasional inner turmoil, she’s able to achieve it.

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