Susan and Christopher Edwards were sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison in 2014 for the murder of her parents, Patricia and William Wycherley, in 1998. Starting this criticism at the end is the least of it, since Landscapers It is based on real events that are well known and exposed from the first minute of this fiction. It is the least of it even in the era of forbidden spoils because this four-part miniseries that HBO produced with Sky (and that can be seen in its entirety on HBO Max) proposes and manages to make the viewer stay, be moved, surprised, and he does so without using even a hackneyed script twist, based on an aesthetic and narrative bet that transgresses and elevates the police genre.
Let’s see. We meet Susan and Christopher, huge Olivia Colman and David Thewlis, in France, at the end of a 15-year escape after having killed Mr. Wycherley (who and how depends on who the viewer is believed to be) and having buried them in the garden of his house. We immediately understand that their reality is not of this world, that they have been dragged into a universe of movies, heroes and fictions, that they live in the latter, with nothing, after having spent all the money of Susan’s parents, having sold his house, emptied his accounts, collected his pensions. Also, that their loyalty story is impossible to break. And that they know finished and are going to be delivered.
“We needed something to get out of the strict limits of the procedural,” confessed Ed Sinclair, creator of the series and screenwriter with director Will Sharpe. To do this, they destroy the fourth wall, show the scenarios, the lie of a story that tells real events, resort to black and white to narrate the past, darken areas of the stage when someone remembers something to imitate, perhaps, the functioning of memory. There is a non-forced theatricalization, supported by Colman, in his lost gaze, in his toothy smile, an actress in a state of grace at whom the spectator looks dumbfounded thinking, is she really 47 years old? Is she the same queen from england from The Crown and the same fierce agent of Broadchurch? Even in the credit titles, which are now passed almost automatically pushed by the application of each platform, the creators play something else. Don’t miss out.
After an excellent exposition, Sinclair and Sharpe bridge the abyss of the bottomless aesthetic show that is exhausted midway with impeccable procedural. The Nottingham police officers investigating it (you can listen to interviews with the officers in charge of the actual case at the interesting podcast that completes the series) do not believe a word of the testimonies of the suspects and, led by an excellent Kate O’Flynn – how many good actresses per square meter are there in the United Kingdom? – they dismantle their theory while allowing the viewer to understand everything: the The moral misery of the victims, the hatred and contempt accumulated by the perpetrators, the abuses, the dead ends … There are sordid moments, but the aesthetic bet avoids falling into any sensationalism and the interpretation of Thewlis (Fargo, Naked) like that man who lives for his wife – “you were the one who made the world real to me” – does the rest.
The last episode combines the trial with a reinterpretation of the case in the form of a western. And works. It has more angles, because it is a series that dares to cover all of them, but its detail exceeds the objective of this review. It is up to the viewer to discover them. In a television world with an oversized offer, in which crime occupies a pre-eminent position with products so many times so similar, a fiction of this ambition and this depth is more than welcome.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.