Essex Serpent review: Claire Danes, the disrupter

Even more successful is the Victorian drama of ideas, in which Cora and a brilliant and vain young surgeon, Luke (an excellent Frank Dill...


Even more successful is the Victorian drama of ideas, in which Cora and a brilliant and vain young surgeon, Luke (an excellent Frank Dillane), replace Darwin and Freud, and God is represented by Will (Tom Hiddleston), a scholar and local vicar rational who insists the snake is a figment of the villagers’ imagination but begins to have second thoughts.

And then there’s the associated love story, which is what you’ll take away from ‘The Essex Serpent’, not necessarily because it’s so sexy or interesting, but because the actors involved are so hard to distract from. eyes. The bachelor Luke and the groom Will (whose wife, played by Clémence Poésy, is unusually complacent) are both in love with Cora, while the latter, still bruised by her marriage, struggles to find an answer. . Passions play out in the village and the posh surroundings of London with entertaining displays of jealousy, tragic abstention and broken crockery.

As always with the Danes, there’s no doubt why the men in the story are so drawn to her character – Cora’s intelligence, drive and depth of emotion jump out at you, present in every move and change of expression. When she arrives on the coast, she’s a force of nature, her powerful curiosity finally free to follow her lead, a condition the show captures when she rushes through the mud without hesitation to help a stranger – who finds herself be Will – to free a trapped sheep.

Dillane, who played heroic heroin addict Nick Clark on “Fear the Walking Dead,” is Danes’ match as the callous but sensitive Luke, hitting the right mix of irritating and endearing. Hiddleston, taking a break from his duties in the Marvel Universe, is perfectly fine but a bit stiff and bland; it’s likely because Will was designed as a stick figure who mediates between Cora and the suspicious and resentful villagers.

Director, Clio Barnard, and her cinematographer, David Raedeker, make good use of the tortured, waterlogged topography of the Essex coast; the show’s opening shots, floating above the otherworldly landscape, transform him into a living being as monstrous as the creature thought to haunt him. And the story, under lead screenwriter Anna Symon, holds your interest as Claire’s determined but joyful attempt to bring “a voice of reason” to the villagers transforms her, in their minds and perhaps ours, into freak.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Essex Serpent review: Claire Danes, the disrupter
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