For The Broke Shore Book Review, click here
Joe Cashin (Jon Haney) is a cop who has returned to the rural seaside town of his youth to recooperate from an injury caused through his work. An old man in the neighbouring region is killed and he ends up on the scene, although then it is taken over by a nasty piece of work cop, Hopgood (Anthony Hayes). Regardless of the conclusions that Hopgood is making, Cashin continues with his own investigation and discovers a much deeper and more sinister story.
I read the book by Peter Temple a few years ago and quite enjoyed it (if enjoy is the correct word for this type of graphic, violent and troubling book), although I seem to recall finding it a bit dense at times, leaving me to really use my brain to put it all together. The television interpretation is excellent, taking the essence of the characters, most particularly Cashin, and bringing the story together leaving far less confusion. It’s not that it was dumbed down at all; it was actually extremely true to the book. Rather, it was that getting all the information presented to you over about ninety minutes in one sitting worked better for me that the several days or possibly even weeks it took me to read the book.
Suzy Darling (Claudia Karvan) has taken her two children and left her arrogant and self-centred husband, Steve Darling (Roger Corser). They move into an apartment in the same building as her dentist practice, the practice she’d taken over from her father. Little did she know that it was haunted by the spirit of English punk rocker, Henry Mallet (Matt King). Whilst everyone thinks she is crazy for suddenly up-and-leaving her husband and now talking to herself (or so they think), Suzy is falling in love with this most unlikely and most un-alive man.
There is no doubt that Claudia Karvan is one of the best things to hit Australian television screens. She has played a variety of characters, but this is my favourite so far. Suzy is an intelligent, educated and independent woman who realises that her choice of partner is not ideal and does something about it. When things get tough, she finds ways to pull herself through. And she can have fun. Just after I finished high school, a few friends and I became regular audience members at the Cheeseshop comedy nights at the Prince Patrick Hotel in East Melbourne, and we loved the comic stylings of Matt King. Eventually, I left the country and when I returned, Matt King wasn’t around so much. It’s been a delight to have him pop in various television shows, including Skins and Peep Show, but nothing has suited him as much as Henry Mallet.
My only real gripe is that some of the supporting characters were over-the-top and that took away from the reality of the show. Spirited only had two seasons, but that was the perfect length to ensure that the story was wrapped up and it avoided jumping the shark.