Expectations are always high when you have a product in your hands that takes inspiration from the writings of the King of Thrills Stephen King. Sometimes the results have been excellent, other times doubtful, and unfortunately in some cases truly disastrous. The hot potato, in a sense, this time it's up to Richard Pierce, creator of the miniseries The Outsider, which is inspired by the novel of the same name by King that arrived in bookstores in 2018. With a string of 10 episodes of about an hour each, the series of HBO is preparing to go on air on Sky Atlantic starting next month (with the first American release which took place in these days). We have recently been able to carefully view the first 6 episodes of 10, and we are therefore ready to tell you our impressions about it.
The teacher, the policeman, the child
The events of The Outsider come to life in Oklahoma, in a sparsely populated town called Flint City. It will not take more than five minutes from the opening titles to be confronted with the harsh reality that will soon destroy the tranquility of the place: little Frankie Peterson is found in a forest literally torn to shreds, after having also suffered a abuse. After the interrogations and the gathering of evidence, the one named by the authorities as guilty is the youth team baseball teacher (as well as a family man and English teacher himself). However, despite the overwhelming evidence, Terry Maitland (played by Jason Bateman) continues to plead innocent, until digging a little deeper even the detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) who had initially arrested him begins to have serious doubts ... after all it seemed really too easy.
These events are the beginning of a series of vicissitudes that we will not anticipate for clear spoiler reasons, but know that the case in question seems practically impossible to solve. Among well-known faces and other welcome news, the cast of the series includes among its ranks Cynthia Erivo in the role of investigator Holly Gibney, but also Bill Camp, Paddy Considine, Yul Vazquez, Jeremy Bobb, Michael Esper, Mare Winningham, Julianne Nicholson, Marc Menchaca and Hettienne Park.
Darkness in the sunlight
In this thriller the script plays its cards very slowly, but not so much as to bore the viewer. The succession of information transmitted in fact manages to maintain a sensible and coherent rhythm, especially in the complicated central phase of the events from the third episode onwards. Even if in many cases the surprise effect is lacking, it is incredible how the interest never decreases, because the fulcrum in these dark events are not only the facts themselves, but also how each character goes to deal with them.
Even if we are not talking about a real horror, there will be chilling scenes or single frames, arm in arm with a soundtrack that never fails to remind us how sinister the themes are.
To drag everything flawlessly with his apparent tranquility is Ben Mendelsohn, who in the role of detective Anderson manages to give a lot to the screen, coloring each scene with his expressiveness, becoming the very embodiment of doubt and moral dilemmas. Although he often finds himself having to make choices and question himself - and not - he finds good collaboration from all the supporting actors.
Without anticipating too much about the plot, especially if you haven't read King's novel, we remind you that The Ousider is coming the 17 February 2020 on Sky Atlantic, and we will give you our final judgment on it only once we have seen the season finale.