When you think coldly about the limits you are able to overcome, there are probably very few who consider themselves capable of murder. The programming of the act itself is secondary to an act of inhuman violence, almost inconceivable for an ordinary person who would tremble at the very thought of trying something so extreme. Yet the murder it is almost never planned at the tablebut the consequence of absurd events protracted for a long time, which end up pushing towards the shadow areas of an sometimes uncontrollable passion.
There is nothing more complicated and at the same time damn “simple” than a murder, as Steven Moffat reminds us in his latest television production: Inside Man – which you find in the Netflix catalog of November 2022 – is a miniseries that plays with the leitmotifs of the thriller genre to orchestrate a particular show to say the leastreasoned but also extravagant, in line with the aesthetics of a screenwriter who always leaves a very characteristic imprint within his works.
Investigations on death row
Among the inmates of a penitentiary in Arizona there are those who defends their innocence at the top of their lungs, those who still deal with the demons of their past, and those who have instead immediately accepted their sentence as just and commensurate with the crime. In a death row cell there is a brilliant man, a world-renowned professor of criminology not only for his marked intelligence, but also for the horrendous crime committed against his wife.
Jefferson Grieff (Stanley Tucci) has no intention of asking for an appeal for his death sentence, he knows very well that his crime deserves the death penalty and he does not intend to escape it in any way, but in the short time left in the world he seeks the absolution solving cases concerning morals and decency. Surrounded by an aura of mystery, he takes the reins of investigations abandoned too quickly and left unfinished, solving them with extreme simplicity based on the cold reality of the facts.
One of his last cases before the execution concerns the sudden disappearance of a woman: journalist Beth Davenport (Lydia West) asks him to track down friend Janice (Dolly Wells), who has been missing for a few days without leaving any trace. The woman’s searches intersect with the absurd vicissitudes of Harry Watling (David Tennant), a kindhearted and God-fearing vicar, who is sadly forced to question his own limits to safeguard himself and his family.
A brutal but brilliant assassin leads investigations destined to run aground by referring to his own acumen and his criminal past: this is essentially the reinterpretation of The Silence of the Innocents brought to the small screen by Moffat, through a screenplay that winks at Thomas Harris and Arthur Conan Doyle continually questioning the preconceptions of the common mentality.
One is led to imagine how brutal and disturbed a man capable of a violent murder like the one committed by Grieff, and instead it is surprising to find himself in front of a calm person, fully aware of his faults but equally determined not to disclose the reasons for an incomprehensible gesture. . A Stanley Tucci in great dusting brings to the screen a multifaceted character, a sort of detective who effortlessly tightens the circle around a parish priest who is as determined as he is disorganized, ended up in the center of a spiral of misfortunes that plunge him into a small home hell. The themes explored in the four hours of viewing are many and above all thorny, from toxic masculinity to suicidal tendencies, passing through those personal limits that appear insurmountable only until you find yourself forced to do so. Moffat therefore relies on the most peculiar traits of his writing to soften the dramatic tones of the show, sprinkling it with a subtle comic vein that flows very often in over the top dialogues and exaggerated situations, trying to avoid the abyss of a vision that is too busy but ending with the emptying of pathos a story that perhaps turns out to be too light and devoid of psychological ambitions.
Nonsense and big gimmicks
The charms of a polarizing screenwriter like few others (rediscover with ours special on Sherlock his most famous work) are transmitted in a plot that accelerates on the wave of an avalanche, that of the unfortunate coincidences that overwhelm a parish priest who discovered himself capable of serious crimesproceeding swiftly in a show that repeatedly fails to outline a general context to frame a narrow story of absurdities that are sometimes credible, others much less.
The twists and turns of the plot in fact range from shrewd ideas to the most incredible paradoxes, while the main character follows the unfolding of events and plays with his correspondent on the field, confident to the core despite the minimal involvement and the scarce means at his disposal. Moffat constantly dialogues with the viewer trying to hide the inconsistencies of a canvas that is perhaps too paradoxical, placing on display the merits of a fast pace that uses the forcing of the plot to create a story that is certainly fascinating, but not perfect for this. The alienating writing methodology reverberates in an acting that does not hide even for a moment their British originsopening up to interpretations at times excessively pushed, and in a direction that is impossible to remain calm, with the camera whirling around the expressions of the actors while the photograph illuminates them with ever-changing colors, in a continuous play of dynamisms that characterizes the spirit detail of the show.