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“there are no surer guarantees of equality among men than poverty and misfortune”

An exhibition of waiting for the main characters to intersect and euthanize the audience into a blissful sleep. With the plot revealed in under 90 minutes, the rest of the show meanders in hopeless writing and banal policing drawing circumstantial conclusions from inane plot development that eventually tells us what audience already knows. If David Hare meant anything by the title, it’s that he’ll continue to wage his on-screen soporific posturing and make the audience the collateral for his banal political discursive.

Checking all the boxes to get BBC on board, David Hare distracts from the murder (which he sacrifices early in order to give his real motivation primacy) with incessant side-piece material regarding the mistreatment of immigrants, sexual harassment in the army, normalization of LGBT sexual relationships among clergy officials (as though the social gospel gives license for carnal indiscretion), subtle hints at human rights violations by Israelis, and reminders of the Iraq War bundle.

Sophie Gilbert covers this well:

Hare, by his own admission, did no research before writing Collateral, which is framed as a police drama but is actually an interrogation of the refugee crisis in Europe. Well, less of an interrogation, more of a lecture series. For a show ostensibly about migration, it spends 95 percent of its time with westerners, who argue incessantly about whether Britain has a right to protect its borders or is cruelly ignoring the plight of the desperately needy. This could be a fruitful exercise, if tackled with care, and a willingness to find nuance in a subject that’s deeply fraught. But Hare, whose work has always had a polemicist strain, paints only in black and white.

Reasonable observers, even with the four episodes, will likely call it a night midway through the second, as one character said, with “a feeling of being played.” If Netflix has proven anything with Mute and now with Collateral, it’s that their modus operandi is quantity over quality: accepting lower end works from directors seeking completion credit.

Of course, critics could not pass on an opportunity to reward banality. Based on the positive review and the inane community college writing from Daniel Feinberg, it does make sense how he could have come to this conclusion:

Hare’s theatrical chops are on better display in the second half of the season, when there are a handful of tremendous two-hander conversations, boosted by series director S.J. Clarkson’s ability to get as much tension from two characters talking as the threat posed by the killer.

The only tension was in the first 30-minutes where the show peaked my only interest in its Type-A baited performances from Hayley Squires and Billie Piper. The performances from the women who dominated the series at every level could have been compounded without losing a thing. With the exception of several parts involving Carey Mulligan, who, although usually great, walks around for most of the show with a countenance of self-satisfaction before solving anything. I’m glad someone else noticed this and wrote it down: “the tough pole-vaulter-turned-detective Kip Glaspie, played by Carey Mulligan with smirking, self-assured charisma.”

If a personification of the script was ever had in the character it portrays, it was in David Hare’s Kip Glaspie, whose entire career in pole-vaulting was ended in a circus spectacle while / trying / her / best.

Uncanny how art imitates life when human error drives both sides.


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