After success Cancel always for HBO, a pair created by the screenwriter David E. Kelly and from Nicole Kidman (here as executive producer) is returning to collaborate on a mini-series that has a lot in common with the show just mentioned. Like the previous one Love and death once again explores the dark and bloody folds of the social fabric, which is only outwardly stable and harmonious. In fact, the germ that leads to defeat arises precisely from the primary institution of civilization as we know it, or the family. Inspired by a true story, the miniseries tells the story of Candy Montgomery, a wife and mother who, in Texas in 1980, barbarously murdered the wife of a man with whom she had an illicit affair.
Compared with Cancel we can see from the first episode a much more accurate definition of the setting and characters. Where is the director of the previous show actually Suzanne Beer he preferred the power of staging, paying less attention to its veracity, in the case of Love and death director Leslie Linka Glatter going in the opposite direction.
Love and death story
The small and close-knit community that acts as the theater of history is delineated in great detail to find that uniformity of vision necessary to make the facts told even more believable. Even the course of the story Love and death almost programmatically avoids penetrating the drama, preferring instead a tone that often veers into a comedy of manners. On the other hand, the absurdity of the plot, its development and ending lend themselves perfectly to the game of mirrors, which allows the director and actors to work on the grotesque folds of the miniseries with undeniable efficiency. In the end, what strikes me most about Love and Death is the calm, angelic composure with which both the community and the protagonists themselves endure the atrocious crime committed by Candy Montgomery.
Glatter is so focused on wanting to avoid the excesses of melodrama that sometimes, perhaps, she sins in the opposite direction, that is, does not give the narrative development the emotional strength needed to give it the final push. Indeed, the episodes of the performance manage to intrigue the viewer, entice him with the hesitant and slightly crazy tone of the production, but never completely subjugate his mind and heart. Which is clearly not included in the plans of the creators and the director, not to mention the cast.
Elizabeth Olsen, compelling protagonist
Elizabeth Olsen in fact, in the role of Montgomery, she gives a very convincing proof precisely because she alienates, repels. Her play with the frivolous side of this female figure, which is accompanied by a blunt, fanatical, but irresistible fortitude, allows her to create wonderful scene after scene. After years in the Marvel Universe in a role that seemed to have finally clipped his creative wings, the actress seems to have rediscovered some of the active power she showed in the film that launched her, namely the wonderful film Martha’s Escape. “. Sean Durkin. Next to her is always effective Jesse Plemons when it comes to giving a bittersweet thickness to men without qualities, to which are added other reliable characteristics such as Elizabeth Marvel, Lily Rabe, Patrick Fugit This Tom Pelphrey who rises to the chair in the last few episodes. These interpreters are the beating heart of Love & Death, the fundamental reason why it deserves a careful and inquisitive look.
There are television products that need to be given time to “grow up”, to assemble their own mosaic in terms of storytelling and staging, in order to produce the exact and desired impact on the audience. Love and death he spends on this time, perhaps even too much, but there is no doubt that this is an operation that is absolutely not for the benefit of the general public to curry favor with it. Nor does he want to shock him with excessive showy moments or figures in chiaroscuro. On the contrary, this mini-series prefers to patiently and clearly instill a sense of unease that at times makes us smile through our teeth. Quality that cannot be underestimated.