TV and Movie Reviews - Week 7
The Movie Maestro, Evan Wade!
First up this week is BBC's 3 part special, Dracula. Releasing on January 1st this year, Dracula begins by following the same story as the original novel, but soon takes a few turns in a different direction and a new life of it's own. Netflix's description read's: "The Count Dracula legend transforms with new tales that flesh out the vampire's gory crimes - and bring his vulnerability into the light."
Written by the duo that created the BBC's Sherlock, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, Dracula has their signature all over it, with the same snappy writing and wit as the modern take on the classic great detective. But it also doesn't hold back on the themes of darkness, fear, gore and violence, and sexuality. It is truly a joy to watch Danish actor, Claes Bang put a fresh stamp on the timeless Count with his quick quips, know-it-all ego, charming demeanor and imposing presence, sometimes all at once. However, the stand-out performance throughout the mini-series for me personally was that of Dolly Wells, who plays a new take on the occult expert/monastery nun, Sister Agatha Van Helsing. While Claes has the almost unlimited powers of an immortal to back up his confident performance, Dolly stands her ground against the tyrant in every scene with absolute believable courage and mental strength throughout. For me, she was the highlight of the show.
Without giving away any spoilers, the end of the 2nd episode delivers a twist which fully impacts the entire last episode, unfortunately not for the better, in my opinion. However, the show is still definitely worth sinking your teeth into (I had to do it)
Secondly this week is 2017 Netflix original sci fi/thriller, What Happened to Monday. In a world of overpopulation where families are only allowed one child, resourceful identical septuplets must avoid governmental execution and dangerous infighting while investigating the disappearance of one of their own.
Leaning heavily on a 1984-esque concept of a dystopian world where the government dictates you can only have one child, it's necessary to suspend some disbelief that a group of 7 identical twins have survived. Noomi Rapace, who plays all 7 twins (each named after a day of the week) does a pretty good job at maintaining a different personality for each, while also playing off of herself in every scene. One actor playing 7 versions of themselves in the same room for most of a film is an impressive achievement for anyone. Brought up by their loving and protective grandfather (William Dafoe), the sisters have adapted to a life where each one assumes the identity of Karen Settman (named after their mother) and goes out to their job as a banker for the day, each sister going out on the day she's named after. When Monday doesn't come home on her night, the other 6 sisters must create a plan to work around the authority in order to try to find her. It's an interesting concept which is enjoyable to watch.
Lastly this week is 2017 crime/thriller anthology, The Sinner. Based on a novel of the same name by German author Petra Hammesfahr, each season follows the story of Detective Harry Ambrose (Bill pullman). The anthology aspect comes in the form of a different case each season, with a different cast surrounding Ambrose. The first season follows the case of Cora Tannetti (Jessica Biel), who stabs a man to death on a beach during a day out with her family and has no memory or understanding of why she committed the crime.
The Sinner is a very well crafted, and even better told mystery. Biel plays the emotionally disconnected and simultaneously terrified Cora perfectly, while Pullman plays the part of the warm yet emotionally damaged detective to the same perfection. In the 2nd season, we get a more personal story to Ambrose with a case that revolves around a Manson family-esque cult community. If you're a fan of crime or mystery at all, then you'll definitely enjoy this!
Dracula, What Happened to Monday and The Sinner are all currently available on Netflix.