Mitchell Beaupre’s review:
After the nonstop dark intensity of 1974, 1980 plays things a lot more reserved and close to the chest. Like it's predecessor, this one opens up by throwing us right in the middle of a serial murder case, led this time by Paddy Considine's Peter Hunter, and then slowly delves more into the world of corruption within the Yorkshire police force. Whereas the first film took us into this terrifying world through the eyes of a journalist, here we are right in the middle of the police, studying the corrupt within the force along with those outside of it.
Director James Marsh gives the film a sharp, stated tone that does a great job of putting us in the shoes of Hunter. We suspect everyone and everything, even those closest to him. When he's talking to fellow officers, we feel that all of them are dirty, especially the ones higher up on the ladder. The individual case for this film is the Yorkshire Ripper and the film makes a compelling race for Hunter and his team to bring this man to justice. However, the more interesting aspect of the film is when we get to see Hunter dealing with the corruption within the force.
After the climatic events that concluded 1974, we see that Hunter was the one who investigated the epic shootout and made a lot of enemies when he dug into corruption within the force. There is always this looming danger surrounding Hunter throughout and Considine plays his brave paranoia expertly. He keeps his emotions just under the surface, a very reserved protagonist to counteract Andrew Garfield's explosive one in the first feature. The film as a whole is much more subdued than 1974 and it works well.
1980 is a real slow-burner, which makes the picture slightly less compelling at the start but builds and builds into a final act that is intensely gripping. The final fifteen minutes had my heart racing like a maniac, with a powerful final twist. It's left me very hungry for more, I'm eagerly looking forward to finishing the trilogy.