It has been frustrating to keep up with the overbearing demands of Jean-Marc Vallée's latest, but there's a Huge pay-off should you hang around till the end
The eighth and last episode of Sharp Objects stated earlier this week. Fraught with breathless stress and staggering drama, it was a finale so grim and powerful, it is bound to make a lasting impression. The episode was a stunning end to a pretty middling time, one that probably discovered itself weighed down by the humongous expectations it arrived up with.
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club, Wild) who knocked our socks right off with last year's Big Little Lies, also based on Gillian Flynn's debut novel, Sharp Objects was further bolstered by the involvement of Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson, actors so watchable, watching them build and divide their characters over eight episodes immediately became a tantalising prospect
In the first episode, we were shot into the deep recesses of Wind Gap, composed of a scanty number of taxpayers, but many mysteries. We see the town and its many oddball characters through the eyes of journalist Camille Preaker (Adams), a former resident who has return to look into the murder of a teenaged girl.
Much like Preaker, the audience feels undesirable in this ghost town, even by Camille's own mother, Adora (Clarkson), who is frightened her daughter's free-spirited, obstinate ways will rub off on her youngest woman, Amma (Eliza Scanlen). There are the typical suspects: that the sheriff (Bill Vickery), whose tardy investigation is guaranteed to develop nought, and the spinster (Elizabeth Perkins), whose shunning of conventions makes her an anomaly in the traditional hamlet.
Her childhood memories, which include the death of a younger sibling, have abandoned a traumatic imprint in her head; recollections that pierce every aspect of her being, and which are rekindled by her arrival to the place where the horrors lie. She's more likely to self-harm and proficient at covering her many physical scars. The resultant intimacy problems cause Camille resisting the charms of a homicide detective Richard Willis (Chris Messina) -- an outsider just like herself. These are all intriguing characters, played by magnificent celebrities.
Vallée's capacity to shroud his tales in minute atmospheric details isn't unknown, and he brings that penchant in all its glory here. Swift transitions between present and past to combine memories with reality, painstakingly lit eyeglasses, as well as the slightest use of background music engulf the viewer, which makes it a sensory treat. The'slow burn' treatment, which has come to be synonymous with the best murder mysteries of this previous ten years, envelopes each component of the storytelling, and while that should have been a bonus, there's such a thing as'too much treatment', especially when it begins to gnaw at you two or three episodes in.
That is not to say there is an absence of storyline; Sharp Objects is, in reality, stuffed with multiple interconnected strands, juggling several powerful themes all at one time. These threads start to converge towards the end, albeit in a haphazard fashion, and while there's a huge payoff for the most stoic viewers, the entire telling appears driven by the compulsion to finish on a winning note rather than a natural culmination of occasions.