‘Appropriate Adult’ (2011)

'Appropriate Adult' 2011 Appropriate Adult (2011) is a two-part dramatization of the life of  Fred West (1941–1995) a rural. British serial killer that operated in the British Midlands for over 30 years.

The twist is that the filmmakers concentrate upon the relationship between West and his Social Worker, Janet Leach, when he she is brought in to assist West in the mid-90s.

In the UK, the term ‘Appropriate Adult’ has been given to the advocates of mentally deficient citizens and children, much like a Social Worker.

Fred West was a piece of work — blue collar, illiterate and mentally impaired. West had been brought up in an abusive household where he was likely the victim of the sexual predations of both his parents. West also suffered numerous non-fatal head injuries that may have contributed to his disposition. Prosecuting West was difficult because most of his crimes had occurred 10 or 20 years beforehe wassuspected of anything and the accusations were often word-of-mouth. The Police went into the field in search of forensic evidence — and were sometimes successful at finding it — but the crux of the matter was that many of West’s victims had  become cold cases. In most cases. Only witness testimony could connect West to the murders of more than 20 women an children, yet many of the witnesses were either dead of natural causes or wiped-out by West and his 2nd wife (and co-conspirator) Rose.

Because of these constraints — a lack of both witnesses and victims to draw upon –   Appropriate Adult  is an in-your-head drama. Unlike American television, there are  no flashback scenes. The story is further handicapped by featuring only a sucession of 2-6 characters stuck in a room together, spinning conversations.

There are many little head games and unreliable witnesses. Monica Dolan scored a BAFTA win for her supporting role as Rose West, Fred’s chief antagonist, but her presence is mostly physical; I can’t recall single line of dialogue from her character. Dominic West (no relation,”The Wire”) and Emily Watson (‘Hilart and Jackie’) star here, as West and Leach, respectively.

Just this past week, both West and Watson were presented 2011 BAFTA Awards for Best Actor and Actress.This is old-school filmmaking, with no SFX, no explosions or bloodletting, yet it was interesting and vital. The West’s victims were so numerous that I began to lose count. I may have lost a few plot-pointts inn there , but Appropriate Adult is well worth watching.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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