Mare of Easttown review: Weary Kate Winslet stars in HBO’s mediocre murder mystery that pales in comparison to Broadchurch

TV dramas are no more glamorous than Mare of Easttown, a seven-episode HBO miniseries starring Kate Winslet. The Oscar winner plays Mare Sheehan, a grizzled detective investigating a series of crimes against women in a Pennsylvania island community.

Created by Brad Inglesby (The Way Back) and directed by Craig Zobel (Compliance), the show is a prime example of the false nervousness that recent HBO projects have embraced. Gone are the days when the premium cable network only produced die-hard classics for a discerning audience – in the age of streaming, a wider customer base needs to be catered for.

Watch the Mare of Easttown trailer here

Mare of Easttown unfolds like the dozens of other small town mysteries we’ve seen; regularly revisiting familiar themes and browsing well-frequented narrative nooks and crannies. As usual for the protagonists of shows like this, Mare is an emotional recluse, clearly affected by past trauma. The reliable and strong Winslet gives her a gruff manner and a John Wayne walk, but Mare isn’t as instantly memorable as, say, Benoit Blanc or Luther.

The first episode is devoted, almost entirely, to introducing the great cast of characters – Mare is based on the first name with each of them, as any mayor would be.

We understand why they chose to devote an hour to the table setting; As well as being a solid mystery, Inglesby probably wants the series to function as a character study as well. But as you watch Mare interact with dozens of people, each of whom has a different level of tolerance for her, you realize that all you’re really doing is waiting for one of them to have the decency to fall. death and start the plot. .

Eventually, a teenage girl is found in the woods by a jogger, her naked body almost ritually flared out on the creek – yes, it’s that kind of show – and Mare finds herself surrounded by a gallery of rogue suspects, including an infected priest. , a despised ex-boyfriend, an abusive father and an overly friendly teacher. Yes, it’s that kind of show.

Five episodes were made available for preview, the last of which I should mention was a work in progress, with blue screen galore and placeholder sound. If I didn’t know better, I’d be willing to bet that the show has already exposed the culprit, not through carefully presented clues, but by making the same mistake that most of these murder mysteries make: the casting. A character is played by a comparatively more accomplished actor, especially if you factor in their screen time.

Kate Winslet in an image by Mare of Easttown.
Kate Winslet in an image by Mare of Easttown.

“Is there anyone you’re not related to?” an incredulous foreign detective, played by Evan Peters, asks Mare in one scene. And he has a point. It feels like Easttown has somehow kept its people trapped. The closed nature of the city has also apparently spawned an epidemic of teenage pregnancy. Mare, for example, is a grandmother. Erin, the 17-year-old, also had a baby.

Due to the proximity to the community and the rampant suspicion that Mare might have a conflict of interest, the Chief decides to enlist outside help – Peters’ detective Colin Zabel. The pair aren’t as immediately engaging as Mirelle Enos and Joel Kinnaman in The Killing or David Tennant and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch – the cornerstones of this type of TV show – but they don’t fit into mature drama enough.

There’s no way to say how satisfying the end of the series will be – I’ve seen fans radically change their minds on everything from WandaVision to The Undoing recently – but no matter how close that sticks to. landing, one thing is certain, it is nowhere. almost as good as it should have been.

And that’s because a lot of things seem artificial – there’s a utilitarian quality to the characters; instead of being used as colors in a tapestry, they are reduced to preconceived puzzle pieces. It’s perfectly okay for the series to examine Mare’s personal life alongside the investigation, but your suspension of disbelief is called into question when the characters in one narrative thread begin to intersect with each other, as they have no logical reason to do so.

Also Read: Collateral Review: Carey Mulligan Starring In Netflix’s Addicting Murder Mystery And Here Is Your Weekend

After a while, everyone in town seems to have some connection to the crimes. It should have been called Mare of Haridwar instead.

Easttown mare

Creator – Brad Inglesby

Throw away – Kate Winslet, Evan Peters, Julianne Nicholson, Guy Pearce

To pursue @htshowbiz for more

The author tweets @RohanNaahar


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