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Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Pale Horse: The Rational Twist

Good to see the versatile Rufus Sewell in The Pale Horse, a two-episode mini-series adaption of Agatha Christie's 1961 novel of the same name.

Agatha Christie is of course known for her cosy British detective stories, and The Pale Horse at first and even continuing glance seems something else.  Mark Easterbrook (played by Sewell) finds himself on a list of people who died, and who, apparently are due to die, after he wakes up next to a dead redhead he slept with.   It seems, at first, that a witches coven is responsible for this lethal mischief.

But, have no fear, Christie is a rational being, just as Easterbrook professes to be, and provides a perfectly logical, non-supernatural explanation for what happened and what is going on, at the end.  Sewell provides a great performance of Easterbrook's tormented evolution along the way, and the end, like conclusions of all excellent mysteries, provides culprits and villains who were hiding in plain sight but seem perfectly plausible in retrospect.

I do wonder, though, why this Pale Horse was presented as a two-part mini-series?  Why not just a one-part movie, or stretch out the story to make it a three- or four-part little series?  But, hey, those kinds of divisional choices have no impact on the plot and performances (also good to see Kaya Scodelario, from the unfortunately not renewed Spinning Out, as Easterbrook's second wife Hermia) and The Pale Horse, especially with its twist that it's all-too-natural murder not supernatural witchcraft that moves the pieces, is wholeheartedly welcome viewing.

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