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Monday, December 24, 2018

Escape at Dannemora 6: Back Stories

A different kind of Escape at Dannemora last night - #6 - in which we get the back stories of the three principals, Sweat, Matt, and Mitchell.

I liked Sweat's the best.  The sequencing was excellent.  The scenes of the cop and then his wife could well have been in the present, on the night that Sweat and Matt escaped, which made the scenes especially nail biting.  (I don't recall enough of what was actually reported in the news about the escape a few years ago to know if a police officer was involved on the night of the escape.) The earlier year was deliberately not indicated until well into the sequence.   And Sweat appearing, after the cop had been shot and run over, and apologizing to him, was the perfect conclusion, and completely consistent with his character.

I liked Matt's the least.  In fact, it was physically nauseating.  I get that we needed to see how violent, to the point of depravity, Matt had been - an important contrast to the more rational person we've come to know in prison - but, what can I say?  As I just pointed out in my review of last night's episode of Ray Donovan, I'm not a fan of excessive violence on the screen.

Mitchell's sequence was quite good.  The real Tilly Mitchell has denounced this series as "lies," elaborating that director "Ben Stiller is a son-of-a-bitch liar just like the rest of the world".  I have no idea what really happened inside and for that matter outside the prison.  I do know that docudramas regularly take lots of license with the actual facts, in the goal of making the production as compelling as possible.   So, when I say I like or dislike an aspect of a docudrama, I'm not talking about its fidelity to the truth (unless I happen to know the truth).  I'm talking about how impressed or not I am with the narrative on the screen.

So with that as a proviso, I thought the Tilly backstory was quite effective in showing that what Tilly did to her first husband was the same as what she's been doing to Lyle.  And I don't blame the real Tilly for being greatly angered by this, especially if she in fact was not like the hateful woman portrayed on the screen, who instructs her little boy to no longer use "Jr" in his name, since she's taking the boy away from his father, and then goes on to lie and say her former husband no longer wanted to be their son's father.

Next week we'll back in the present of the story, with Matt and Sweat in the woods, and Tilly under investigation.  And I'll be back here with a final report.

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