The AMC series "The Killing" has reached the point where you just want to jam all the red herrings into a jar. And Mireille Enos' look of stricken sensitivity and wisdom as the detective heroine is getting monotonous. (That's Enos looking, well, stricken and sensitive and wise, in the foreground, right.)
But I'm still hooked on the show, mostly because of the grungy-lush Seattle atmosphere and several powerful performances, like Michelle Forbes' bone-piercing characterization of a grief-stricken mother.
Credit a production team that had the sense to hire first-class talents like last night's director, Agnieszka Holland.
Every time there's a couple of hot cable series during a cold movie season, pundits are quick to proclaim the triumph of TV over cinema. Often, though, one key to these series' success is hiring big-screen-caliber artists and craftsmen like Holland.
20 years ago, Holland created the only Holocaust movie that simultaneously tickles the funny bone and stings the heart: "Europa, Europa."
Set in Germany and Poland, Holland's "Europa, Europa" tells the factual, astonishing war story of a Jewish Everyboy named Solomon Perel, who, in order to survive, somersaults this way and that—from refugee to Bolshevik-in-training—and lands in the élite school for Hitler Youth. The movie starts with Solly's bris, then jumps ahead to his Bar Mitzvah day, on the eve of the Second World War. The hero's penis is the movie's center of emotion, as well as its source of seriocomic tension and suspense—Solly must always hide his member from prying Aryan eyes.
When he finds a girlfriend who's delightful except for her Nazi fanaticism (she's played by the marvelous Julie Delpy), he yearns for an intimacy that circumstance and circumcision make impossible. As he tries out different roles, Solly becomes a scary parody of a teenager figuring out what sort of adult he can become. Holland's handling of Marco Hofschneider in the lead role is a triumph of sympathy and tact. Together, they create a unique character—a not-so-candid Candide.
"Europa, Europa" is still available on DVD -- and it's still better than anything you can see in first-run theaters or on cable right now.
Photo: detectives Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) in the pilot episode of "The Killing"; Chris Large, photographer; courtesy of AMC.