Murder in Easttown, the review of the miniseries with Kate Winslet

Murder in Easttown, the review of the miniseries with Kate Winslet

Murder in Easttown

A young girl was killed. The case is entrusted to a detective in psychological and family difficulties. A semi-unknown town becomes the central focus of the investigations and from an apparent safe place it turns into a concentration of fears and paranoia. In short, the incipit of Murder in Easttown is anything but innovative as it traces exactly the most famous sub-genre of yellow fiction. Similar series ended up being canceled due to excessive clichés, lack of talent of the performers or wrong roles. However, Murder in Easttown has a wonderful Kate Winslet on its side who represents the icing on the cake of an unexpectedly original production directed by Craig Zobel and written and conceived by Brad Ingelsby. This miniseries, produced by HBO, will arrive in Italy on June 9th on Sky Atlantic and NOW, but we had the opportunity to preview it and here are our impressions. As always, we remind you that the review will be absolutely spoiler-free.

Murder in Easttown: much more than a "simple" investigation

Murder in Easttown follows the story of the protagonist, detective Mare Sheehan (the original title of the series, in fact, is a more emblematic Mare of Easttown), after the murder of a young girl. The police officer has many contacts in the city and is somewhat of a local legend for his athletic achievements in high school at a young age. The story begins to take mysterious turns right away, as the young woman's death takes place exactly in the days of the first anniversary of another murder, which remained unsolved. With increasing public pressure, Mare struggles to balance her professional and personal life. Her ex-husband gets engaged, her son dies by committing suicide and her daughter-in-law asks for custody of her nephew. A new partner (Evan Peters) and a romantic date (Guy Pearce) add new relationships and obstacles to Mare's already chaotic life.

Kate Winslet effectively plays a stubborn, wary and charming woman. She is a former patron of the city who is on the verge of becoming an outcast due to her uncomfortable role and her confused and not very valuable family condition. In this regard, it is easy to understand how Murder in Easttown is, in reality, a series consisting of two conceptually parallel stories, but strongly intertwined with each other. On the one hand we have the private life of the protagonist, who inexplicably lost the opportunity to leave a small town that continues to haunt her on a daily basis.

One wonders if she has chosen this life or has been imposed on her . His her own attitude suggests that she may have trouble with the authorities, but this gives way to genuine care and concern for her family and her image of her in little Easttown. After all, the actress has already played this type of characters before, with prominent examples in The Wheel of Wonders and Contagion so there is no doubt that her performance is sublime.

On the other hand, however, we find precisely the inhabitants of the town of Pennsylvania who initially seem elements of pure outline, but then become the real pawns of a well-structured and not at all trivial mystery. Mare is also not the only one apparently stuck in the ambiguous Easttown, as her family, her friends and a stranger author (Pearce) seem equally trapped in this sort of real and tangible purgatory. . Despite the omnipresent desolation, Ingelsby and Zobel skillfully build the plots of the city and its inhabitants. The interpersonal and family relationships are masterfully laid bare together with those towards Mare and episode after episode (in total there are 7 lasting about an hour each) the links are intertwined so much that they no longer distinguish the public from the private.

Not to be underestimated even the supporting characters. Among these we cannot fail to mention Mare's mother, Helen (Jean Smart), who provides comic relief to both the viewer and her daughter by constantly pricking her with jokes and uncomfortable questions; fellow detective Colin Zabel (Evan Peters) who balances the couple by being brash and idealistic as opposed to Mare who is cynical and resigned and her best friend, Lori (Julianne Nicholson), who represents the soft part capable of smoothing the abrasive character of Sea.

Photography shows reality, narration gives it soul

Zobel's shots and rhythm perfectly define Easttown's dreamlike and almost unreal atmosphere. Based on angular shots divided into well-defined blocks, the world seems small for the protagonists, giving the viewer a sense of claustrophobia that is the same that is felt by Mare and the people close to her. The director manages to masterfully combine close-ups for both internal and external settings, in such a way as to enhance, for example, the darkness of the woods conveying a feeling of terror and the daily life of the inhabitants that flows slowly and in apparent tranquility. br>
The only open-field areas with great visual spatiality are a basketball gym and a lonely stream where, among other things, the body of a dead girl lies. The theme of being trapped in a psychologically devouring and exhausting place is, therefore, strengthened both visually and narratively. This aspect denotes how the entire production is the result of a fruitful collaboration between Zobel and Ingelsby: a good work in synergy has allowed us to create a harmony that few series can boast.


Murder in Easttown is presented as a series with a plot far from new and never seen, but manages to offer an unexpectedly engaging story, full of twists and able to renew a genre already extensively treated. The cornerstone of the show is certainly the protagonist Kate Winslet who, while not always providing an all-encompassing profile on grief and loss, brings a sublime performance to home screens that elevates the overall quality of the series itself.

Ingelsby also grew up near Delaware County, and this series is the perfect product to showcase his passion for aesthetic details (crocheted blankets, porches, woods, local customs like opioid use and much more. other) that improve the likelihood of the show so as to never distract the viewer. Crucial was the decision to make the show totally impartial. Murder in Easttown, after all, is just a subtle, structured and mysterious portrayal of a place where some people are suffering and a woman does her best to help them.

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