Saturday, December 27, 2014

Secrets and Lies: Excellent Australian Whodunnit

Hey, I want to recommend to you Secrets and Lies, an Australian TV mini-series which I just saw on Netflix.   The story is very much in the Broadchurch/Gracepoint new tradition - a boy is found murdered, and there's no shortage of suspects, including and especially family members and people who live on the same block.  But Secrets and Lies, maybe because of the evocative Australian countryside, but also because of its pacing, has a winning style all its own.

The acting is excellent.  But what especially caught my attention was Anthony Hayes as the lead investigator Ian Cornielle.   He has a quiet power that you don't usually see in cops on any continent - or, at least, how they are portrayed on television - that's almost reminiscent of Mickey Rourke.

The ending was genuinely surprising, if a little rushed, but it certainly made sense in retrospect.   One problem with these Broadchurch kinds of stories is that you soon realize that every new suspect, regardless of how suspicious and convincing, is just a straw man or woman to occupy our attention until the end of that episode.  I'm not sure what can be done about this narrative predictability, because it's so fundamental to the story.   But Secrets and Lies worked quite well anyway.

In fact, so well, that ABC here in America was impressed enough to commission an American version of this same story, from a brand new script.  I'll probably watch it, but it likely won't be quite as good as the Australian original, just as Gracepoint, though it had its moments, generally fell a little short of Broadchurch.  The problem is that however much the remake may change some of the details, we already know the story.   It may well be that the whole notion of remakes needs to be re-examined in this age in which we can easily see TV series from overseas on cable, Netflix, and Amazon.

So my advice is see Secret and Lies as soon as you can, and then decide about its American remake.

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