Series Review: The Sinner – Season 1 (2017)

Murder. A horrible crime. Something that can be caused by many different reasons. If you ask me, it’s never okay… but it’s still important to look at all the details of the case.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Sinner”.

Cora Tannetti (Jessica Biel) seems like your typical woman. She has a house, a husband (Christopher Abbott), a child, and a nice job. But one day while she’s enjoying a day at the beach with her family, she suddenly lashes out and stabs a guy to death. Her case is then given to Detective Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) who has to find out why Cora suddenly committed this horrible act. And the further Ambrose delves into this case, the more questions arise. So now we have our murder mystery. And already I like the different approach. It’s not a whodunnit like most other shows… but a whydunnit instead (doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, but you get the idea). It’s a really dark show filled with a lot of twists that kept me invested in everything that was going on. The plot here is quite unpredictable, because when you think you know where it’s going, it pulls the rug out from under you, giving the viewer a bit of an “Oh shit” feeling. The plot here is engaging, unpredictable, disturbing, and just overall great.

The characters here are all layered, flawed, and interesting. Jessica Biel plays Cora, the woman at the center of this story. While I won’t go too in-depth about her (since a lot of her character stuff is best left experienced), I will say that she’s a really compelling character who gets some really dark and interesting character development. And Biel is great in the role. Then we have Bill Pullman as Harry Ambrose, the Detective looking into Cora’s case. He is a highly determined policeman that is doing everything to find out what made Cora do this. He doesn’t look at the broad strokes as much as he aims to find out the details of the situation. He does also have some of his own drama to deal with that adds to his character. And Pullman is great in the role. Then we have Christopher Abbott as Cora’s husband Mason. A loving husband and hard worker, Mason’s world gets completely fucked after Cora commits the horrible crime. And seeing his journey after the event is insanely compelling. And Abbott is fantastic in the role. Then we get supporting performances from people like Dohn Norwood, Jacob Pitts, Abby Miller, Danielle Burgess, Enid Graham, Nadia Alexander, Merediths Holzman, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the season was composed by Ronit Kirchman who I think did really good job. The score is heavily electronic and has a unique and eerie sound that helps add a sense of unease to the show. While I wouldn’t exactly find myself listening to the music from this show for fun, it’s definitely quality stuff that works very well within the show.

Based on a novel by Petra Hammesfahr, this show was created by Derek Simonds, with writing by Simonds and some other people, and direction by various people. And the work all these cool people put in is incredibly good, giving us some of the best craft in any recent show. The sense of dread and suspense throughout is thick enough to cut with a knife, and it helps create an engaging atmosphere that helps grip the viewer. And the cinematography by Radium Cheung and Jody Lee Lipes is pretty damn good.

This show/season has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,0/10.

Season 1 of “The Sinner” is a compelling and disturbing ride that I highly recommend. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, good music, and really good directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 1 of “The Sinner” is a 9,81/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Sinner” season 1 is now completed.

Bill Pullman is such a likable actor.

Series Review: National Treasure (2016)

Sexual assault. A horrible thing that I wish never existed, but unfortunately is all too common in our world. It’s a very uncomfortable, but very important topic that needs to be discussed if we want change. On that note, here’s a show about being accused of such things.

Ladies and gentlemen… “National Treasure”.

Paul Finchley (Robbie Coltrane) is a comedian with a very long career, beloved by many people, a bona fide national treasure. But he soon finds himself in hot water when he’s accused of sexual assault. So we follow Paul as he tries to deal with these accusations and how they affect not only his life, but the lives of the people he loves. So now we have our drama. And I have to say that I found this plot quite compelling. Seeing Paul’s life go through change because of these accusations makes for some really solid drama. Another great element of the plot is that you never really know if Paul actually committed the acts or not, which makes you doubt everything, which adds a layer of tension to it all. I don’t wanna say too much because I don’t wanna ruin anything, but I’ll end this part by simply saying that this plot is great. Tense, emotional, and utterly compelling.

The characters in this are all layered, damaged, and really interesting. Robbie Coltrane plays Paul Finchley, the man at the center of this story who finds himself accused of sexual assault. As previously mentioned, Paul is a comedian with a very long and successful career, leading to him being loved by many people. So seeing that slowly peeled away because of these accusations leads to some great character stuff, especially as we learn more about his life and see how all these things affect his life. And Coltrane is fantastic in the role. Julie Walters plays Marie, Paul’s wife. She’s a tough, take no nonsense woman, but she does show a few more vulnerable sides to her as well throughout, which of course happens because of the accusations against her husband. And we do learn some things about her too throughout that adds to her character. And Walters is just absolutely fantastic in the role. Then we have Andrea Riseborough as Dee, Paul’s & Marie’s daughter. She’s a former addict now trying to get through the aftermath of that while also getting tested emotionally because of the accusations against her father. And Riseborough is fucking great in the role. Then we get some supporting performances from people like Babou Ceesay, Tim McInnerny, Mark Lewis Jones, Trystan Gravelle, Susan Lynch, and many more… all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the show was composed by Cristobal Tapia De Veer and it was good. While the style wasn’t my cup of tea, I can acknowledge that it was well composed and worked well within the show, using a very electronic style that often helped create an uneasy and emotional feel within the show. It’s not something I would find myself listening to during my spare time, but I think it works for the show.

The episodes were written by Jack Thorne, and directed by Marc Munden. And the combination of those two is quite good. The direction somehow manages to capture the feel of unease and confusion of the characters. Combine that with the writing and you get some compelling stuff. And the cinematography by Ole Bratt Birkeland is stunning, this is a great looking show. There are a few weird cuts throughout the episodes, but none of them makes me think less of the show… just confused why they were there.

This show has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“National Treasure” isn’t always an easy watch, but it’s a great and I’d even say important miniseries. It has a great plot, really good characters, fantastic performances, good music, and really good directing/writing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “National Treasure” is a 9,71/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “National Treasure” is now completed.

This is not quite how I’d imagine the Hagrid’s and Mrs. Weasley’s reunion going…

Series Review: Godless (2017)

A Netflix western miniseries? Yeah, I didn’t need any convincing to watch this. So here we go.

Ladies and gents… “Godless”.

Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell) used to be part of an infamous gang up until he betrayed them. And the gang’s leader, Frank (Jeff Daniels), wants Roy dead for that. So now Roy is hiding out in a town called La Belle, a town run entirely by women. So now we have our western plot. And with this plot they embrace pretty much every western cliché known to man… but they also put some interesting new perspectives on them to make them feel a bit more fresh. There’s a lot of good drama here that I found myself quite invested in while they still gave me some of the classic western plot points. If I had to make a comparison in plot style I’d say that this is part “The Beguiled” and part “Red Dead Redemption”. There’s the women-majority cast of the first, and the violent gang betrayal stuff of the latter. And I think it makes for an interesting mix in this show. Hell, I’d say that it’s great.

The characters here are given a good amount of time to develop and I think they’re interesting. Jack O’Connell plays Roy Goode, the former outlaw hiding out in La Belle. He has the kill-skills from his gang-days, but you can tell that he’s also a good guy who prefers to live quietly and help out. He’s a tragic character and O’Connell is great in the role. Michelle Dockery plays Alice Fletcher, the woman who is responsible for helping/hiding Goode. She’s tough, but she also shows a more vulnerable side during the show, giving her a good amount of layers. And Dockery is great in the role. Then we have Merritt Wever as Mary Agnes, one of the many women of Le Belle. She’s tough as hell, but you can tell that she’s also a sad and damaged character. And Wever is great in the role. Then we have Scott McNairy as Bill McNue, the Sheriff of La Belle and one of very few men there. He’s aging, but he’s still determined to get the job done. And McNairy is great in the role. Then we have Jeff Daniels as Frank Griffin, the outlaw in charge that Roy Goode betrayed. What I like about him is that he isn’t just a ruthless asshole kind of outlaw, but he’s given a lot of interesting sides to him. He’s damaged, he’s charismatic, he has a kind heart, but he is also an intimidating outlaw that will shoot you dead if you cross him. And Daniels is absolutely great in the role. The final one I want to go slightly more in-depth with is Whitey Winn, played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster. He’s a slightly over-confident young deputy. But they don’t go the route of making his over-confidence turning him into an unlikable idiot (which so many shows/movies do), but they show that it’s a flaw of his. But generally he is a good guy that is worth liking. And Brodie-Sangster is great in the role. And then you can expect some great performances from people like Kim Coates, Samuel Marty, Tantoo Cardinal, Sam Waterston, Christiane Seidel, Erik LaRay Harvey, Jessica Sula, and many more. Seriously, this is an incredibly well acted series.

The score for the show was composed by Carlos Rafael Rivera and it was pretty fucking great. Trumpets, strings, piano, other types of brass… seriously, this is a full-on western score emulating a lot of classic ones and it makes me so happy. And overall it is just fantastic, perfectly fitting the show and often elevating scenes throughout the show.

This show was created by Scott Frank and Steven Soderbergh, with Frank having written and directed all of the episodes. And I think he did a fantastic job with that. His direction here is sweeping, but also tight and focused when it needs to. It has a good sense of flow and style to it, while also managing to create a good amount of tension to it whenever it needs to. And let’s talk about the shooty-bang-bangs (I know they’re called shootouts, but I prefer my phrase for them). They’re badass, fun, exciting, and quite violent. There’s even a decent amount of tension in them, making them even more interesting.

This show just came out but has already been quite well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 76/100. And on imdb.com it (as of writing this) has a score of 8,5/10.

“Godless” is another win for Netflix. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/action. Time for my final score. *Bang*. My final score for “Godless” is a 9,85/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Godless” is now completed.

Part of me wants more. But part of me feels like it should stay a miniseries.