Top of the Lake, film-maker Jane Campion's first work
in her native New Zealand in two decades and shot in and
around Queenstown, is garnering praise from influential
Hollywood critics before it premieres on UKTV.
Starring Elisabeth Moss, David Wenham, Peter Mullan, Tom
Wright and Holly Hunter, the seven-part crime drama made full
use of the urban and rural settings of the Wakatipu as the
fictional settlement ''Laketop'' last winter.
Film and television industry bibles Variety and The
Hollywood Reporter admired the multi-layered story,
''superb'' acting and beautiful location that contrasted with
Variety reviewer Justin Chang said the ''absorbing and richly
atmospheric'' Top of the Lake focused on the
disappearance of a pregnant pre-teen, which exposed the raw
wounds at the heart of an isolated southern New Zealand
Both magazines' critics drew comparisons with cult murder
mystery soap Twin Peaks.
Chang singled out Moss' ''excellent performance as a
detective for whom the case uncovers disturbing echoes of her
own troubled history'' and Mullan ''as a rough-mannered
scoundrel who is not without a certain gruff, randy charm''.
Chang praised Australian director of photography Adam Arkapaw
(Animal Kingdom). His ''lensing of this unspoiled and
unruly landscape is one of the production's chief
Hollywood Reporter reviewer Todd McCarthy hailed the
series as ''an edgy, disturbing and altogether first-rate
crime drama that very much centres on women, though it does
have a lot of daddy issues''.
McCarthy said the show was a ''classic example of a story
unfolding in a gorgeous setting that hides no end of squalor,
depravity and corruption under the surface, this mystery
involving incest, molestation, damaged women and those old
stand-bys - sex and murder''.
''Moss, sporting what one character derisively describes as a
Sydney accent, is quietly and observantly superb, and Hunter,
sporting straight long white hair and a caustic, cutting
attitude toward her gatherings' problems, is a hoot.
''The beauty of the surroundings has been gloriously
captured, but it always is infected by the moral rot and
personal malevolence that the inhabitants have brought to
• Top of the Lake debuts on Sky on UKTV on Monday,
March 25, at 8.30pm.