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Not your ordinary British period piece miniseries, that's for sure....
Acorn Media / 244 Minutes / 2011 / Unrated / Street Date September 25, 2012
The Crimson Petal and the White is not your average British melodrama miniseries import, and it's all the better for it. It sports exotic costumes and breathless romance like many period pieces of its kind, but there's a mysterious undercurrent to the drama within its shadowy corridors that lends it an elusive aura.
In the four-hour film, we follow the exploits of the lovely Sugar (Romola Garai), a high-class prostitute with a dark and clouded past. When her street smarts and blank ambition collide with the deep pockets and feeble constitution of William Rackham (Chris O'Dowd), sparks fly: he falls helplessly and stupidly in love with her, and she sees his appearance in her life as a blank-slate opportunity to break out of her fringe life with a bang.
What's fun for viewers - though not for the characters within it - is that The Crimson Petal and the White turns bleak fast. With flagrant narrative push/pull, we watch protagonists and antagonists alike go through hell here: the players in this work have their worth tested and retested with alarming frequency. Horrible dreams and visions, violence, greed, diseases of conceit - The Crimson Petal and White may appear on its surface to be just another blase high-fallutin miniseries, but if you give yourself over to it, it'll keep you on your toes for a night or two.