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TV Review: Sharp Objects (Season 1, Episode 1)


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Sharp Objects centres around Camille Preaker (played by Amy Adams), a troubled young reporter sent by her boss to return to her somewhat isolated hometown to cover the murder of a young girl and the disappearance of a second. 

The series is adapted from Gillian Flynn’s debut novel of the same name that was released in 2006. Flynn is the writer behind 2012’s gripping thriller Gone Girl as well as its respective film adaptation released the same year.

For those who have seen Gone GirlSharp Objects draws on the same monotony of everyday life in its exploration of a small community and its reaction to a brutal act of violence. Colours are dulled, sounds are amplified and flashbacks are interwoven effortlessly within the present, rendering the first episode a perplexing but immensely intriguing introduction to the inhabitants of Wind Gap, Missouri. 

The episode introduces us to all the main characters, taking its time to allow each one to reveal just enough about themselves before we return to Preaker and her slowly deteriorating mental stability. We meet Preaker’s overbearing mother played by the wonderful Patricia Clarkson as well as her manipulative yet mysterious half sister, played by newcomer Eliza Scanlen.

Adams is on excellent form playing the slowly unravelling Preaker with just enough poise to remain professional yet clearly, under the surface, coming apart at the seams. Preaker’s fragile mental state is blatantly apparent yet the reasons for her trauma are only briefly hinted at throughout the episode, leaving us with a lasting feeling of what could possibly have happened to her. This is sure to be revealed as the series unfolds.

The pacing of the episode is slow (don’t expect any action or any actual progress in the investigation to be made yet) but the series looks to deliver more than just a crime and its solution. It looks to explore the inner workings of a community and how the past can return to haunt us, exemplified in the character of Preaker.

The fictional town of Wind Gap is unnervingly sinister and sure to send a chill down your spine. It appears trapped in the past; cars seem old fashioned, clothing looks as if to be from a different age. Preaker’s hallucinations of her childhood self throughout the episode bring the past fully into the present

The series is starkly reminiscent of 2014’s True Detective in its use of a Southern gothic feel and frequent use of flashbacks. 

Ultimately, although slow paced, this episode allows introduction of all major characters and allows subtle but detailed exploration of the relationships between them and the conflicts within themselves. This masterfully sets up the rest of the series, leaving us with lasting intrigue and eager anticipation to return to Wind Gap and follow Preaker’s story.

I should take time to give a trigger warning for this episode in that there is a clear reference to self harm at the end of the episode that may be disturbing for some viewers.

Sharp Objects is on every Monday at 9pm on Sky Atlantic. 



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