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TV Review: Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects, HBO, Gillian Flynn, Jean-Marc Vallee, Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, Drama, Thriller

SYNOPSIS: Amy Adams stars as reporter Camille Preaker, who returns to her small hometown to cover the murder of a preteen girl and the disappearance of another. Trying to put together a psychological puzzle from her past, she finds herself identifying with the young victims a bit too closely.

Sharp Objects, HBO, Gillian Flynn, Jean-Marc Vallee, Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, Drama, Thriller

REVIEW: For fans waiting for a worthy successor to the Cary Fukunaga directed first season of True Detective, Sharp Objects is for you. An eight episode limited event helmed by Jean-Marc Vallee (Big Little Lies, WILD, DALLAS BUYERS' CLUB) and starring Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects is a perfect storm of talent both in front and behind the camera that turns the best-selling novel by GONE GIRL author Gillian Flynn into what could be the darkest and most unsettling drama produced by HBO. This is definitely not a thriller for the faint of heart but it also doesn't pile on the gore or violence in the traditional sense. Sharp Objects is a gut-punch of a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat while completely toying with your concept of guilt, victims, and trust.

While GONE GIRL was certainly the flashier project when the bestseller was adapted by David Fincher for the big screen, Sharp Objects is the far more intriguing story with a pair of performances that will absolutely garner awards for Adams and Clarkson. Adams, who has already become one of the best actresses working today, delivers what is going to be her career-defining role as Camille Preaker. A reporter out of St. Louis, Camille is a recovering alcoholic who has a history of self harm. Played in flashbacks by Sophia Lillis (IT), Camille is sent to her home town of Wind Gap, Missouri to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. On the heels of a murder the previous year, Camille struggles with being back in the town she escaped years before and has to deal with the tumultuous childhood loss of her younger sister, Mariann.

Like the great small towns from movie history, Wind Gap is an amalgam of the mundane and the sinister. There is the gossip spread amongst the locals concerning whether it was one of them or an outsider who committed the heinous crimes rocking their corner of America. This coupled with the return of Camille, daughter to town matriarch Adora Crellin (Patricia Clarkson). Emulating a cross between a Tennessee Williams character and pretty much any role Jessica Lange has had on American Horror Story, Clarkson delivers a gripping and slightly unhinged turn as the woman who is devoted to her daughers in a way that may hide something far more sinister. Make no mistake, Sharp Objects is absolutely focused on Amy Adams powerhouse performance, but Patricia Clarkson almost steals her thunder in a role that could easily go down as one of the most haunting in cinematic history.

Aside from the two leads, there is also the other key role of Amma, Camille's half-sister, played by Eliza Scanlen. Scanlen could have easily been crushed under the weight of two towering performances from Adams and Clarkson but manages to hold her own. At first, I was not sure how Amma would fit into the overall plot of Sharp Objects but that eventually becomes very clear. There is also a whole ensemble that brings this small town to life in the form of the out of town detective (Chris Messina), the local police chief (Matt Craven), the close friend of the family (a great Elizabeth Perkins), and Adora's meek husband (Henry Czerny). I cannot say enough about this entire cast who are so good in their roles that you almost wish this was more than a limited series. I say almost because the horrible acts that populate this tale are far from what you would want to see more of.

Sharp Objects, HBO, Gillian Flynn, Jean-Marc Vallee, Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, Drama, Thriller

While author Gillian Flynn did help adapt her novel for this series, credit must go to Marti Noxon (Mad Men, THE GLASS CASTLE) who serves as the showrunner for this masterful series. Partnered with Vallee, they turned a very layered and complex thriller into one of the best things HBO has ever done. Vallee, whose work on the David E. Kelley scripted Big Little Lies was a highlight of last year, delivers a haunting and disturbing work that is on par with the first season of True Detective. Shifting from dream to reality, nightmare to memory, flashback to hallucination, Vallee forces the viewer to absorb every scene and scan every inch of the frame for clues to the mystery awaiting you at the end of the story. Having watched the entire series, I can honestly say I had to go back multiple times because I was not sure if I saw what I thought I saw.

Fans of the novel will find that the story very faithfully adapts the source material. For those of you who have not read the book, I encourage you to avoid any and all spoilers about this and go along for the eight week ride. Believe me when I say that Sharp Objects is going to be the most talked about thing this summer, television or big screen. This is a nail-biter in the very definition of the word. You will find yourselves theorizing, analyzing, and questioning every episode for the two months HBO will be airing this series and you will not be disappointed when it comes to an end. Sharp Objects grabs you and refuses to let go. You will feel every grimy corner, every jagged edge, and every backstab that comes your way. This is the definition of event television.

Sharp Objects premieres on HBO on Sunday, July 8th.

Source: JoBlo.com

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