I try not to engage too much with world news, I tend to avoid it as best as one can. I am well aware that mankind and mother nature has the ability to cause atrocities, but being a sensitive flower I choose not to overload my mind with the details, it only upsets me. However, a trip to my local flicks gave me a short, sharp wake up call. The foyer was full of men in space suits spraying liquid everywhere, and the whole place was devoid of paying guests. I managed to speak to the charming box office assistant, through several layers of glass I hasten to add, who informed me they were closed, as there is some sort of virus going around. Who knew? So, with a bumper bag of sweets, some commerce still prevails I see, I sauntered home trying to recall my Netflix password. Now I often hear people say that finding things to watch on Netflix can be slightly overwhelming at times, as I am sure you do too. But have no fear, I am here to help, as are my delightful fiends. It was upon several recommendations that I searched for a series called The Stranger, based on a novel by the American mystery writer Harlan Coben. Thank you muchly for that dear friends. Cor blimey what a binge-fest I had! The M&M’s disappeared in no time at all I can tell you.
The action takes place in the UK, in the northern town of Manchester. Local lawyer Adam Price is watching his son play football when a mysterious woman slithers up beside him and informs him of a secret regarding his marriage. His wife is the one harbouring the said secret, and Adam had no idea of its existence. The stranger leaves without explanation or demand, after revealing details which make it clear that she is telling the truth. His life is immediately thrown into disarray. The plot does indeed thicken as he investigates the stranger’s claims, taking him on a dark and mysterious journey.
Over the eight episodes, Adam delves deeper and deeper into the stranger’s claims, as she continues revealing secrets in a furtive manner to a carefully selected few. Now, a little side note for those of you who do not like complicated stories. Complicated stories are ones that are difficult to follow; the film Memento that I mentioned a few weeks ago by Christopher Nolan is a wonderful example of a classic complicated plot, and they are not for everyone I grant you. However, a plot concerning multiple characters that somehow appear to be connected, but is easy to follow, is commonly referred to as complex. This fantastic series definitely falls into the latter category. And this means it is easy to follow, but that everyone you see is under scrutiny and suspicion, and I mean, everyone.
This series is superbly cast, with Siobhan Finneran (Mrs O’Brien from Downton Abbey for those familiar with the series) in the lead detective role trying, just like us, to make sense of it all. And popping up as one of the darkest characters I have seen on screen for a long time is the sublime Paul Kaye. For those of you unfamiliar with his work, Paul Kaye is an English comedian who created the hilarious character Dennis Pennis in the nineties, who terrorised celebrities. To see him handle such a serious role, and handle it so well, is surely a sign of things to come. The next John Hurt? Time will tell.
The twists and turns and red herrings are bountiful, and I thoroughly enjoyed trying my hand at being an amateur detective, sadly guessing incorrectly at every turn. I shall say no more on the matter, as I would hate to spoil the fun. But I hope this little conversation has worked as an amuse-bouche to what can only be described as a feast of a series. I am not one for advice, but a little pointer for those of you who intend to see for yourself if you agree with me and my chums. Do your best to try and space them out. Indulgence can be fun at times, as we all know; but as dawn approached, the final episode appeared on my screen, and I realised I had eaten my body weight in chocolate; I began to wish I had spread the suspense over two or three days. My plans to join a gym for the first time in my life in order to work off all that sugar were soon scuppered, as the men in space suits were doing a sterling job there too. Oh well, it looks like I’ll have to stay in and settle down on the sofa with my Basset Hound Beagle crossbreed Billy Bob Thornton, and a big bag of Bounty bars. From the bottom of my heart, thank you strange virus, whatever your name is.
God Save the Queen. Lord bless you all. Same time next week fellow film lovers.