Edit : I’m sorry for the typos, weird syntax or vocabulary, but my brain just died because of this post XD
It’s been a while since I’ve wanted to write about Spooks. On a specific scene. A difficult , heartbreaking scene, which shows once again the talent of Richard. I didn’t knew how to approach it, I still don’t by the way, but the idea kept going in circles in my mind so I decided to yield. Even if it means rewatching said scene several times in an attempt to grasp its nuances and especially why it upsets me so much. The scene in question is, I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, taken from episode 4 of season 8, Lucas North suicide attempt during his imprisonment in Russia.
Before getting into the thick of things I need to develop a few things about me as a viewer. In « real » life, I do not cry, ever. I think the last time I cried was at my grandfather’s funeral two years ago, and it’s not so much his death that saddened me rather than my mother’s absolute misery. I put some distance between the world and me , I am and I must be strong, for me, for others. Therefore, it’s out of question to show any signs of weakness, because yes, crying is a weakness.
In contrast, while watching a film, tv show, reading a book or even listening to music that I love, I can easily burst into tears. These various media are my escapes, they allow me to let go and allow myself, for once, to feel fully. It may be horrible to say this, but I often feel more affected by the fate of a character than by what happens around me. Because in a way, it’s virtual and therefore safe for me.
Now back to Lucas. Seconds before the flashback, he’s been violently arguing with Sarah. He is sharp, aggressive, on the edge. We don’t know if he will explode or collapse. If he will react with violence again, preferring rage to despair, or whether he will be as he is : a broken man. And this is where RA’s talent is shown. Lucas is feverish, he rushes to the sink, running water to cool both his face and spirit. His gestures are jerky, imprecise, awkward. His agitation is clearly visible. His breathing is audible, fast, he fights against his own body, betrayed by it. There’s also that habit of his I love, which he regularly uses in distress. He covers his face with his hands. This simple gesture makes Lucas appear particularly vulnerable and fragile. Throughout this passage his back is turned to us, but at no time his face is needed to understand his inner turmoil. ( I don’t know why but I think about the « Tempête sous un crâne » of Valjean in Les Miserables. ) This guy is so good, he succeeds to convey emotion with his back!
Flasback. Focus on his face. He’s lying on the floor. He’s exhausted, dirty. His hands against his chest, he’s almost in a fetal position, looking for any comfort. His eyes haggard, he seems lost, disconnected.
Back to Lucas in his apartment, still filmed from behind, his hands resting on the countertop. He’s overcome by nausea, almost convulsing, while his chest is contracting. His psychological trauma is so intense that it affects him physically. It’s a panic attack, he tries to suppress it as he can. He literally fights against what he feels, he’s overwhelmed by his feelings.
Flashback. This time in wide angle shot. He is curled up on the floor, barefoot, wearing only pants. His cell is empty and decrepit, which further enhances the impression of fragility. Lucas looks almost frail, crushed by the prison. He tries to get up but can’t, he crawls more than he stands up, he even needs the support of the wall. All in an extremely slowness. Every detail, voluntarily or not on the part of Richard, is done to emphasize the impression of vulnerability and instability. He stands hunched, his eyes half closed, as if it were impossible for Lucas to face a second more the reality of his situation. He’s on a razor’s edge, ready to switch at any time.
His lips are plucked, he has trouble swallowing, he lowers his head, forehead pressed against the wall, once again a gesture of submission and surrender. He capitulates. (It’s interesting to see that after the departure of Sarah, he has exactly the same attitude, this time leaning on the door , after closing it). I don’t know if his decision is made at that moment. He contemplates the idea of his own death, thinking that he can’t bear this life anymore, or as I say, his non-life. I don’t think that when he grabed the chair he’s fully aware of what he’s doing. Lucas seems to be in a daze. He suffers, so he finds a solution to stop it, a drastic one. It’s simple.
Shoulders low, his face collapses, his mouth is drawn down, lips parted, his jaw hanging and trembling, he’s overwhelmed by the weight of his situation. Only the space between his eyebrows is contracted, accentuating the feeling of depression. In both shots, present-Lucas and past-Lucas, he has the same expression, the same attitude, staring at the ceiling in one case and at the rope in another. He relives the scene.
I’ll stop here for today, just before the most difficult passage, because this is already much longer than I expected, and unfortunately messier too! I won’t tell you how many times I had to watched this scene, but I must be somehow masochistic 🙂
A Lucas North study part 2
French below the cut
Lire la suite