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Mare of Easttown

****
2021

‘…a top-notch cop show, and an easy recommend for anyone who enjoys an old-school whodunit.’

‘I always imagined I’d be a cop. It’s the life around me I didn’t expect to fall apart so spectacularly…’ Kate Winslet has been one of the fastest adaptors when it comes to managing a small-screen career alongside standard movie-star duties. Long before others made the plunge, Winslet was starring in Mildred Pierce for HBO, and now that streaming services have blurred the line between cinema and home entertainment, Brad Ingelsby’s Mare of Easttown offers a cop-show with the kind of high-end content that was once the preserve of film-making. And in short, much like The Undoing, that’s no bad thing; some stories work better over seven hours than two.

Philly’s finest, Mare Sheehan (Winslet) has a murder or two to solve; the community of Easttown is close-knit, so close knit that several of her own family members are accused of having some involvement in the death of teenage mom Erin McMenamin (Cailee Spaeny). Could Mare’s ex-husband be the father of Erin’s son? What does Mare’s cousin know about the activities of the local Catholic priests? Why has Mare’s daughter Siobhan switched to a new relationship? And why has writer Richard Ryan (Guy Pearce) moved to town, and can Mare ever forget the past for long enough to kick-start a new relationship with him?

Sporting a convincing accent and vaping heroically until real cigarettes finally turn up, Winslet is at her best as Mare, a pragmatic detective sergeant who knows her community well. Paired with detective Colin Zabel (a nice turn from Evan Peters), Mare is also haunted by a cold case; the young man strives for Mare’s dogged sense of experience, but Easttown is the kind of community where seven generations of relatives in the graveyard is required to make you one of their own.

Although the final episode bears evidence of the kind of padding often seen in protracted narrative arcs, Mare’s investigation, like that in The Undoing, leads directly to the covert activities of a disenfranchised and diseased patriarchy. The speed of the revelations keeps coming, and the bursts of action are tough and realistic; bad guys don’t shoot twice. Something of a triumph for Inglesby and Winslet, Mare of Easttown is a top-notch cop show, and an easy recommend for anyone who enjoys an old-school whodunit.

 

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  1. Yeah, I liked it too. You’re right – it does peter out towards the end and the conclusion seemed a little far fetched. I felt the sub plot was better than the main plot, which means after you-know-who dies in episode 5, it doesn’t quite match it’s same standards. But there’s great acting and a great sense of place that make it success.

    • Totally agree, so will seek medical assistance. But that was a great dramatic twist in episode 5, and the next two unmasking didn’t have quite the same impact. But the whole worked, even if the strain showed at times…

  2. Mare of Easttown throws spotlight on many characters as culprit and ends up poor, I felt like director tried too hard to surprise the viewers.

    • I think I was exhausted by the third set of killers being revealed in the final episode. maybe you;re right, they cast a huge net, and even characters like the ex-husband were suspects. Even though Mare was a good detective, I wondered why she was allowed to investigate a case with so many of her family involved…

  3. Is that pronounced “Mary”? Because whenever I see Mare all I can think of is horses running around and cowboys and indians shooting at each other.

  4. Only just catching up with Succession but this sounds like an excellent story told in the best possible format with that great enemy of the great movies – time – in abundance. Winslet is always highly watchable and brings an intensity to the screen few actors – male or female – can match. Will defiinitely put this on my list.

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