Landscapers – An almost perfect crime, the review: murder through love and cinema

Landscapers review – An almost perfect crime, 4-part miniseries available on Sky and NOW that tells the true story of a murder by a married couple.

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Landscapers: Olivia Colman in a photo from the miniseries

We need to talk about cinema in ours Landscapers review – A near-perfect crime although the one directed by Will Sharpe is one miniseries in four episodes. Cinema as a container of stories and as a filter through which to interpret reality. As happens to Susan Edwards, a fan of the films with Gary Cooper. And as it happens through the language of the miniseries produced by HBO and available on Sky e NOW. Almost like a Fargo rib, even Landscapers, at the beginning of the first episode, reminds us that what we are about to watch is a true story. Slowly, the adjective dissolves, transforming the sentence into a more laconic one: “This is a story“. A story, pure and simple. In this crime without real attention to the result (we know it from the beginning through a caption that informs us that the two protagonists are serving 25 years in prison, even though they still consider themselves innocent), we will see a a story full of horror and sadness, but filtered through a comedy style, at times alienating, but undoubtedly original. Telling the story of the Edwards spouses, Landscapers plays with genres, cinema, fiction and reality. Everything becomes a tale, everything becomes a story.

A wrong phone call

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Landscapers: a scene photo

The story is based on a real murder case in Nottinghamshire in 1998 that went unsolved for at least a decade. Susan and Christopher Edwards are a couple, husband and wife, who have recently lived in France. They are incredibly in love, almost in symbiosis, and this gives them strength to go through the difficult moment they are going through. Short on cash, although Susan likes to spend a lot on memorabilia related to classic Hollywood cinema, the two live in a dilapidated apartment, waiting for Christopher to find a job. This is not an easy goal, given that the insurmountable problem of the French language seems to exhaust and make man impatient. After yet another bad interview, Christopher tries everything and calls his stepmother Tabitha, asking for a loan. However, he will have to reveal the reason for their trip to France, obviously trusting the wrong person. Tabitha will call the British police immediately because, as she has just learned, the couple fled England after burying the bodies of her parents in the garden of their old house. This will open the case and the two will be forced to return to their homeland to collaborate with the police: for them it is a misunderstanding and they declare themselves innocent. They won’t have to make up stories, just tell the truth.

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The power of stories

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Landscapers: i protagonisti Olivia Colman e David Thewlis

What form does the truth take? And above all, what is the truth? Landscapers – An almost perfect crime plays with the spectator and with the perception of events, filtering and superimposing, in a metatextual and postmodern game, the story of the two protagonists with the detectives who interrogate them. Like the films Susan and Christopher are passionate about, their tale is a box of perspectives, where facts turn into macabre deeds or unpleasant coincidences depending on the listener. The truth acquires more forms, therefore, and the direction of Will Sharpe is plagiarized by the pleasure of the narration. Far from being mere testimony of a real event, Landscapers makes everything fictitious: from the essential scenographies to the quotes from Hollywood films, from the use of black and white to cross fades, from color filters to a theatrical dimension to stage , literally, the testimony. Through this fictitious eye, everything becomes dramaturgy, everything becomes history, leaving the true testimonies during the credits, demonstrating something that finds space only at the end, once the fiction is over. Whether it happens in the heads of the protagonists or whether it is a story in images intended for the viewer, Landscapers reflects on the very nature of cinema and television, on the empathy linked to the characters and the role of the spectator. And this is how a dark and judicial twisted tragedy finds a new dimension, lighter, more attractive, more tied to love.

Love as a couple

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Landscapers: a photo of the protagonists of the miniseries

Despite some too many exaggerations, there is a perceptible and extraordinary element, linked to the two protagonists and the couple of actors who play them: love. Susan and Christopher are a couple truly in love and truly united, even at the cost of living a distorted version of reality. Olivia Colman and David Thewlis are truly exceptional and always believable, a real magnet for the screen. So alchemical that the less successful aspects of the miniseries are forgotten. Despite a light background tone, Landscapers struggles to find a real heart, resulting more of a theoretical demonstration to which the story makes itself available to carry out an analytical discourse on cinema, rather than to really thrill the public with the story of the protagonists. Still, we can’t help but find a right conclusion in the final moments of the fourth episode, which closes with a melancholy note that adds an interesting jarring. Reminding us that, after all, life is nothing more than a story. Almost like a movie.

Conclusions

At the conclusion of our review of Landscapers – An Almost Perfect Crime, we can say that we found the HBO miniseries directed by Will Sharpe interesting, more theoretically than from a purely narrative point of view. Playing with the viewer, with cinematographic language and with the desire to transform everything into a fictional story, the case taken from a real event of a double murder is transformed into an essential and provocative visual story, perhaps too much. Olivia Colman and David Thewlis are a masterful pair of protagonists, perfect for dragging the viewer into this atypical crime with blurred edges, where the focus is more on the power of the stories and the viewer’s perspective of listening.

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Because we like it

  • The four episodes have a good pace that keeps the viewer glued to the screen.
  • Olivia Colman and David Thewlis give a capital test.
  • The series reflects on the meaning of the stories and the story, experimenting with the staging.

What’s wrong

  • Sometimes this exercise seems too insistent, draining the strength of the series a little.
  • In addition to the theoretical aspect of the story, the series does not present another beating heart.

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