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TV Series Review: A Murder at the End of the World

Kelaru rating: ★★★★

Available on Disney+ | Episodes seen: 3 out of 7

 

This series took me completely by surprise. I had no prior knowledge of its existence—no trailers, no insight into its production details, director, or source material. My first encounter was a mere thumbnail on Disney+ on its UK launch, featuring Clive Owen, an actor I admire. Intrigued, I pressed PLAY.

From the opening scenes, the series presented itself as a delightful revelation. The cast, rich with accomplished actors, ensured a promising start. Emma Corrin, known for her portrayal of a young Lady Diana in The Crown, embodies Darby, a contemporary introverted sleuth reminiscent of Lisbeth in The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. Harris Dickinson (Triangle of Sadness, The Iron Claw) joins the cast as Darby's partner-in-crime-solving, carrying intriguing secrets.


Yet, the star power doesn't stop there. Clive Owen takes on the role of a tech billionaire with dubious plans for the humanity’s future, and Brit Marling (The OA, Another Earth) portrays his wife, Lee.

Behind the camera is Zal Batmanglij, who, together with Brit Marling, are responsible for the excellent series The OA. They bring the same enigmatic and mind-bending essence to this new project again. The series shares the same DNA, dark visuals, exceptional acting, compelling dialogue, and a profound understanding of character development.


In addition, the creators give particular attention to every character, granting them the depth and authenticity of real individuals. The creators wisely provide ample space for the talented cast to showcase their artistry.


The narrative unfolds along two intriguing storylines that are poised to converge. The first follows Darby and Bill, two amateur sleuths connected online, pursuing an elusive serial killer. Their cross-country travelling in the search for the killer gives us an insight into their pasts and allows for their relationship to build.


The second storyline takes an unexpected turn, fast-forwarding a few years to find Darby as a struggling writer, still engaged in online sleuthing. She receives a surprising invitation from tech billionaire Andy Ranson (Clive Owen) to a secluded, ultra-tech hotel in Iceland, joining a select group of innovators, artists, leaders, and scientists. Here, she encounters Andy's mysterious wife Lee (Brit Marling) and their smart 5-year-old son. The question looms: why is Darby, with her crime-solving talent, among these extraordinary individuals?


After only three episodes, I find myself completely captivated. Each instalment carries a weighty gravitas, instilling a sense of dread and depth that lingers, leaving a desire for more. The series masterfully immerses viewers in the characters' worlds, whether dark, scary, or dangerous.


It’s good to see this pair of filmmakers hone their skills over the years and this series shows they are getting better and better. I wouldn’t be surprised if sooner or later, Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling are handed the keys to some established mystery series or franchise to develop it in their own style (I’m thinking a new season of True Detective or Orphan Black)


Depending on how it ends, this series may get a 5 star rating. Highly recommended!



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