DVD/Stream of the Week: the original TOP OF THE LAKE

Elisabeth Moss in TOP OF THE LAKE

Netflix will release the episodic drama Top of the Lake: China Girl in September.  It premiered at this May’s Cannes Film Festival to rave reviews.  The Wife and I are looking forward to binging through it when it’s available.  So NOW is a good time to catch up on the FIRST season of Top of the Lake from 2013 – you can binge it on Labor Day Weekend.

In the original Top of the Lake, Moss plays an Australian detective who returns to her rural New Zealand hometown only to get entangled in the case of a missing pregnant 12-year-old. Moss’ cop begins unraveling the community’s secrets, and it turns out that she has a past herself. It’s easy to find oddballs and seekers in a mountain community, along with the usual crop of redneck louts, and this New Zealand backwater has more than its share of both. There’s a dodgy police commander, a slimy real estate broker, a bunch of edgy teenagers – and the protagonist’s old prom date is now living in a tent.

But that’s nothing compared to one of the most twisted characters of recent years, the sadistic local drug lord played by Peter Mullan (the Red Riding series, Tyrannosaur, The Claim).

And then there’s a colony of women living in shipping containers while they heal from life’s traumas and seek enlightenment. Their sometimes catatonic and always harsh guru is played by Holly Hunter.

Throw all these characters together into a cleverly constructed plot, and you’ve got one highly entertaining series.

Peter Mullan in TOP OF THE LAKE

Top of the Lake was created by New Zealand’s own Oscar-winning director Jane Campion.  Each of the episodes is only 48-50 minutes long, so watching all seven episodes goes pretty briskly.

In Top of the Lake: Chine Girl, the Elisabeth Moss character is back in Sydney, Australia,  and Nicole Kidman will join the cast.

Holly Hunter in TOP OF THE LAKE

You can catch Top of the Lake episodes on the Sundance Channel or watch all seven episodes on  DVD from Netflix or streaming from Netflix Instant, Amazon, Vudu, Hulu, YouTube and Google Play.