Sunday, August 5, 2018

Slowly & Deeply Disturbing - The Sinner

Image result for the sinner tv showJust as The Sinner is gearing up for its second season, I discovered the first season. I'd seen a trailer at the time of its initial release on USA, but the story of a woman who kills someone in cold blood on a beach and doesn't know why didn't really appeal at the time. Add in that I actively dislike Jessica Biel, and there you go.

But summertime is the time to watch what's easily accessible, and there is Bill Pullman in there, who I do like. Very much.

I binged the show, sucked in by the hypnotic, suggestive patterns of the wallpaper and dark, grungy song that set Cora Tannetti into a murderous rage. The telling of the story is not a straight procedural, because you know from the beginning whodunnit - you've seen it with your own eyes. It is crystal clear from the moment the show opens that something is wrong with Cora, and the tension of the film comes from the out-of-the-blue nature of her crime. Our sense of human nature tells us that nobody just up and kills someone for no reason, so Detective Ambrose (Pullman) becomes hell-bent on figuring out why she would do such a thing.

The splicing of the current investigation with Cora's recurring visions, hypnotic trances, and returning memories was masterful. Lots of things were bothersome - not necessarily new to me, but very bothersome nonetheless - an abusive zealot for a mother, an opportunistic, exploitative boyfriend, a manipulative sister, drugs, sex, get the idea. But all were shown with a sharp, deliberate hand that painted the most sinister image possible with these bits and pieces. There was a darkness that I felt was akin to the unease produced by Buffalo Bill in his few scenes from Silence of the Lambs. I felt the power of these images and memories without being able to put them all together for myself until the end, and that made the realization that there was in fact a reason, and we're on a journey to find it immensely rewarding. The way in which the characters react to all these events, both in the past and the present, showed the darkest sides of human nature at almost every turn, and it cast an oppressively hard, desperate, sickening pall over the whole show.

There were some tangential things that weren't as appealing, but they took up so little time that I didn't feel the story was bogged down by them. The biggest example was the relationship between Dt. Ambrose and his wife -I understand why that was put in there, but I didn't need that. It didn't add to the story for me, except towards the end, where we get a hint of rationale for Ambrose's behavior, and it connects him to Cora in a way that explains his drive to get to the bottom of her situation.

I understand that the second season is a different storyline, but if the aesthetic and/or the mission of storytelling is anything like this season, it will be something you don't want to miss. So if you're into dark, high-minded thrillers, don't miss this one.

K Rating: 4/5

Image result for the sinner tv show wallpaper
That's not at all suggestive...0_0

1 comment:

  1. I have no comments on "The Sinner", but I did want to mention that I love the "Spar Oom" reference... ah, Mr. Tumnus, you really should have studied harder when you were a little faun. (Actually, the house I currently live in is named Narnia. Our previous apartment was Castle Anthrax, because there were four apartments in the building and for most of the 12 years we lived there, the other three apartments were occupied by lovely young women, and our apartment was occupied by my lovely wife, my three lovely daughters, and, well, unlovely me. When we moved to this house we weren't sure what to name it, but the closet in my wife's and my bedroom connects to my office, so my oldest daughter suggested 'Narnia' and it stuck. And we do have a lamp post out in our front yard, and we'd like to get a stone statue of a faun to stand next to it with a sign saying 'Narnia' in its hands, or around its neck, or maybe hanging from the lamp post.)

    Also, Lady Bathory has a wonderful cameo in my novella "The Fear Masters" (AKA, "The Zombie Ray From Outer Space".)

    I have a blog myself, The Miserable Annals of the Earth, at

    And that's quite enough out of me!