I do not see many people talking about a gem like ‘Mare of Easttown’. This is unfortunate. In today’s world, any product wrapped in a gaudy package with ultra-PR techniques gets peoples’ attention, while masterpieces like ‘Mare of Easttown’ with a classical approach of storytelling get lost in space. By genre, this is a thriller/crime story. But as any great show would do, ‘Mare of Easttown’ transcends the barrier of any genre and etches a long-lasting mark in the hearts of its viewers for its ingenuity, its intent, and its time-standing method of character portrayal.
Centered around a murder and a couple of disappearance cases, ‘Mare of Easttown’ dissects the lives of a number of people living in the suburbs, their tragedies and agonies, their aspirations, and their methods of sustenance. Even though the thrills and chills are its superpowers, it can be easily categorized as a psychological drama owing to its maker’s exemplary skills of delving deep into the psyche of the people around us. None of the people shown are extraordinary. In fact, most of them are suffering from their past tragedies or even struggling to exist. But as any philosopher would advise, people are always ordinary, it is only the situations that make them extraordinary. Beneath the layers of its suspense, ‘Mare’ is a work of fiction to explore human emotions, how they react to critical situations and how family above anything holds a group of people together in difficult times.
Spread across seven episodes, each around one-hour duration, ‘Mare of Easttown’ never attempts to show off. It never tries hard to shine. And that gives it the value of platinum, suave, slick, germane, and classy. In many ways, this is a show of Kate Winslet. Undoubtedly this is her career-best performance. I strongly believe that Hollywood has witnessed two Kate Winslet. One who charmed us with her mesmerizing beauty in movies like Titanic, Sense, and Sensibility. And the one who has enchanted with brilliant acting prowess in movies like Revolutionary Road, the Reader, or Carnage. In ‘Mare of Easttown’ Kate supersedes all her previous avatars and dons a role that is not only challenging but physically grueling, emotionally exhaustive, and needed her to break every preconceived notion around her. She is no Rose here. Rather, she is a grandmother of a four-year-old kid. She is a cop. She is a mother who grieves over the loss of her child and struggles to shower affection to her surviving daughter. She is a tough nut who barely reciprocates the affection or attention she receives from the people surrounding her. She is a complex character who has every good trait of humanity hidden underneath, but she is too confused or too troubled to express those. And as already hinted, it needed extraordinary circumstances to bring her to reality and do what was right. Kate is brilliant, to say the least. Mark my word, her performance in the coming days will occupy large portions of the course in the acting classes.
Each and every other actor has done a brilliant job. My favorites among them were Jean Smart as Helen Fahey and Angourie Rice as Siobhan Sheehan. Jean as the ever-cheerful mother of Mare Sheehan is a joy to watch. Rice is beautiful, expressive and the way she portrays the character of Siobhan, one of the most balanced and composed personalities in the doldrums around is amazing. Evan Peters as Colin Jabel is heartwarming. John Douglas Thompson as Chief Carter, David Denman as Frank Sheehan, Julianne Nicholson as Lori Ross -all do justice to their meaty roles. No complaints about the rest of the cast, either.
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The direction by Craig Zobel is a visual treat. The way he handles all the complex characters and yet never goes over the top is exemplary. He is powerfully backed by Brad Ingelsby, the story writer. The show starts and ends in a small town and throughout seven long hours maintains the milieu perfectly. The close shots depict the earnest desire of the creator to show the psychology behind every crime. Often water has been treated as a subject. The camera works surrounding the creek assist such embodiment. The show starts with a slow pace, giving minute attention to each character and once the character development is complete, the pace builds up giving the audience an edge of the seat feeling. Towards the end such pace intentionally dies down only to resume with new twists in the plot and a fitting finale where redemption wins over crimes, gore and the evil residing inside every human soul.
The show has its own share of flaws, however minuscule they are. The sudden ending of the disappearance cases is tough to imbibe. More details of the character Potts would have cleared the air. There are certain unnecessary characters or scenes which consume around fifteen minutes of the runtime. There is a lacuna in the timeframe at the house of the Carrolls. Barring these, the show is flawless.
If you are missing this show, you are definitely not an ardent lover of true movie-making. This is an epic. This should be celebrated for thousands of reasons. Kate Winslet as Mare Sheehan is definitely the worthiest one. It is once in a lifetime show and must not be missed.
My Rating- 9.5 out of 10
Available on – Disney Hotstar
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