‘The Third Day’ Review

In 1903, Frederick Nicholas Charrington, who had given up a lucrative fortune to dedicate his life to helping the less fortunate in London, purchased Osea, a small island off the Blackwater River in Essex. Charrington, a former brewer, turned Osea into a labor camp to rehabilitate alcoholics and alcoholics. His evangelical zeal and hatred of the woman placed him on a long list of Jack the Ripper suspects – or at least, made him partly responsible for the atmosphere. purists closed the brothels and forced the prostitutes into the streets, where they became easy prey. to anyone really Jack the Ripper happened to be.

It’s a compelling and true story – you can Google for more – that serves as the de facto base for HBO The third day.

Key point

Good action and interesting structure, but too familiar.

A structurally compelling limited series, The third day take that context and use it as a flimsy foundation for what’s essentially a more polished TV remake The Wicker Man. While it’s made for quite a viewing by some strong star rotations and some lovely visuals, the fiction in The third day proved much less interesting than historically verifiable, layered on top of an otherwise unsurprising genre with almost no real visceral impact.

The structure of the series, co-produced by Felix Barrett and Dennis Kelly, goes like this: The first three episodes (with individual titles but collectively classified as “Summer”) were directed by Marc Munden plays and focuses on Jude Law as an increasingly disoriented family man – he has two girls and a boy, he says again and again – from London who, after witnessing something terrible, reached out to Osea. There he discovered that the islanders were preparing for some kind of pseudo-Christian, pseudo-Celtic music festival inspired by a series of religious ceremonies that, as you can imagine, are very worrying. Briefly drawn to Osea by the causeway connecting the island to the mainland only at low tide, Law’s Sam began to suffer from increased paranoia, which was not appreciated by the extremely friendly innkeepers. Mr. Martin (Paddy Considine) and Mrs. Martin (Emily help. Watson), as well as historian Jess (Katherine Waterston), the archive of island legends and events.

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The next three episodes, “Winter”, are set a few months later and focus on a newcomer to the island. Helen (Naomie Harris) arrives with daughters Ellie (Nico Parker, a strange doppelgänger of real-life mother Thandie Newton) and Tallulah (Charlotte Gairdner-Mihell) as part of a very weird birthday celebration and badly planned. They also discovered that Osea was rife with natives behaving strangely and once again, paranoia took hold.

Between the two “seasons,” viewers will be able to watch “Fall” on October 3. It was shot live and is described as a “theatrical event broadcast” that immerses viewers more in the world. .

It’s clear that the critics didn’t send in “Fall,” what happens to it still hasn’t been filmed, but it’s not a mandatory narrative bridge. We’ve watched the entirety of “Summer” and two of the three episodes of “Winter” and it all fits together. But since Barrett is a co-founder of the British company PunchDrunk of the British immersive theater (or “theater”), which will be staging “Fall,” it is easy to get curious. And it’s easy to feel that this is an interesting experiment that HBO is doing, and to accept that if you’re tinkering with form and format, it’s okay to use something conventional as your seed. will be very helpful.

You know the drill, even if your frame of reference is The Wicker Man or Midsommar or any title where someone gets lost in a seemingly ordinary town and quickly begins to realize that everything is just a bit of catawampus. In the process of being captivated by the mystery of a place he believes may have gotten out of safety countless times, Sam is drawn into a web that blends fundamentalism, illusions of the nakedness, and the like. benign custom and his own repressed suffering. And if that sounds like the first and second episodes of Lovecraft CountryThis is really not the perfect time for The third daybecause HBO has at least one better show changing this formula now.

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Because the genre traditionally uses a man – usually a white male – as the entry point, the “Winter” part is the much more interesting of the two halves of the show. Unfortunately, attempts to show how different outsiders interact when the protagonist is a Black woman are limited to Harris’ character, concluding that the locals behave strangely. to her is racist, and then when they say they’re not, really isn’t that anywhere to go. Plus, Harris is an actress that conveys both wit and a no-nonsense attitude, so you know her determination to stay in a place where any reasonable person would run away. instant is not just random. In contrast, Law’s natural self-absorption makes it easier to accept a string of silly choices.

It would be helpful if any unique features of Osea’s acknowledged history were carried over to the show’s description of the island. It requires a certain amount of oblivion to hear the first rumors of Celtic mythology and not say, “Yeah, I’m out of here before the bees come” – or hear the skewed hints that Osea has elements of a New Age health cult. and not say, “I have an HBO subscription and this is way too Scientology/NXIVM for me.” History aside, everything that makes Osea so special or fascinating is limited to Benjamin Kracun’s incredible cinematography – lots of eerie shots of a flooded causeway – and the Considine’s smug smile, something Sam might not believe, but viewers certainly will. Considine manages to keep the previous episodes and then Watson takes on the role of an increasingly foul-mouthed character who definitely has to be a ball to play.

Things that happen on Osea are certainly strange and a bit horrifying, but Munden deals with the compulsive nightmares and drug-fueled hallucinations with too many small details. Sacrifice! Masked boys! Perspective bias tricks! It was only because Law was so nice and so comfortable that Sam’s gradual expression of misery had any effect. Munden’s best trick is to train Law’s camera to close-up the impossible way, to make the world around him amazingly blurry and to let Young Pope Why sell credit is still vague in the script. Harris’ character and performance is more purposeful, but the story in “Winter,” directed by Philippa Lowthorpe, is too vexed by the “Well, duh” moments that are considered shocking here.

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The density of the narrative extends to the subtext. It’s about how we deal with trauma and the psychological stumbling blocks of grief. Except when it’s distracted by a squirrel getting dissected, though aren’t we all squirrels that get dissected at their saddest? There’s also an environmental message here, if you want to see it, with Osea described as the soul of the Earth – a soul that has become out of balance with modernity, whether it’s destruction or not. destruction of the local oyster industry or lack of usable cell phone receivers.

Most of, The third day is a structurally enhanced cautionary tale of contemporary people pursuing pagan traditions and the inevitable islands where they do so. You, dear reader, know better than I do if it’s a lesson you’re still asking for.

Stars: Jude Law, Naomie Harris, Katherine Waterston, Emily Watson, Paddy Considine, John Dagleish, Nico Parker, Charlotte Gairdner-Mihell, Paul Kaye

Creators: Felix Barrett and Dennis Kelly

Airs every Monday at 9 p.m. on HBO, starting September 14.

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