HBO Max Annoying The Staircase

Colin Firth and Vincent Verminon in HBO Max's The Staircase

Colin Firth (left) and Vincent Verminion (right) in the stairs
picture: HBO Max

recommendation the stairs Without knowing what his ending looks like, it’s a TV misbehavior. But the HBO Max limited series, which has released only five of its eight episodes to critics, almost justifies the risk. approx. Created by Antonio Campos (Satan all the time), this thrilling drama about the mysterious death of Kathleen Peterson will succeed or fail based on its conclusion. also the stairs Will it use its final chapters to set a great new standard in critical true crime, or it will be a disastrous display of pop culture cruelty as bad or worse than The girl from Plainville. Needless to say, we’re proceeding with caution, and may rearrange this show once we’ve gathered all the relevant facts.

Toni Collette and Colin Firth play Kathleen and her novelist husband Michael. On December 9, 2001, the 48-year-old businesswoman was found bloodied down a staircase in her North Carolina home. Michael claimed that Kathleen fell after a night of drinking. But seven deep scalp lacerations and 35 other cuts and bruises – physical evidence that investigators described as “consistent with beatings” – told a different story. When Michael was accused of murdering his wife the following year, French filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade (Vincent Vermignon) was given permission to document his defense in a miniseries of the same name, albeit a controversial one, in 2004.

Michael’s trial as captured by Lestrade–notorious for blurring lines of objectivity and excluding key facts–provides the basis for the documentary drama of Campos and Cohen. Rather than escalate with the referee who only comes halfway through the series, the stairsThe 2022 programme, which this review is about, offers a comprehensive examination of Kathleen’s death, Michael’s trial, and the perverted excitement that continues to surround them. Placing Lestrade and executive producer Denis Poncet (Frank Feys) as questionable central characters in the Petersons story, this non-linear re-examination is as much about a potential murder as it is society’s cunning fascination with terrible tragedies.

This is very difficult, for sure. But it is a noteworthy thematic area, which is particularly well suited to this highly publicized issue. Not only the stairs Get two more episodes of Lestrade in 2012, but Netflix revived it again with three more seasons in 2018. Countless books, podcasts, and TV series (Datelin NBCAnd forensic files etc) have examined or inspired the Peterson family in a frenzy of double true crime that has now spanned more than two decades. To some extent, the HBO Max retelling assumes that its audience has seen those who came before it, dropping bland hints about the investigation’s later developments early in the first episode. (“Do you think the murder weapon just flew into the air that nobody kept?” one detective joked, secretly referring to a far-fetched defensive theory that hasn’t even been popularized. the stairs‘s Netflix era.)

Toni Collette, Colin Firth in the stairs

Toni Collette (left) and Colin Firth (right) in the stairs
picture: HBO Max

Paraphrasing this material into a metaphor can make viewing redundant. Therefore, this is a testament to the strong tendency of Campos that the first five episodes are constantly introducing a new show for the main players in the issue. Colette and Firth — sure to leave even the most knowledgeable viewers wanting more — chew through a sharply written marital drama that offers a rich, if partially fictional, context of the crime. The more intimate scenes between the late Kathleen and Michael appear as an insensitive invader. But the rich realism of their fraught partnership generally works well, providing a deep set of conflict from which to base the rest of the show.

Michael’s biological sons Clayton and Todd (Dane DeHaan and Patrick Schwarzenegger) and adopted daughters Margaret and Martha (Sophie Turner and Odessa Young) stand beside their father in the public eye — even as Kathleen’s biological daughter Caitlin (Olivia DeJong) and sisters Candice and Laurie (Rosemary DeWitt and Maria Dezia) They question his innocence.

(From left): Odessa Young, Sophie Turner and Terry Whipple in The Staircase

(From left): Odessa Young, Sophie Turner, Terry Whipple the stairs
picture: HBO Max

Meanwhile, while preparing for court, defense attorney David Rudolph (Michael Stolberg) works closely with Michael, Michael Bell’s brother (Tim Jenny), and a team of lawyers and medical experts to appropriately explain what happened to Kathleen. Across the aisle, Durham County District Attorney Jim Hardin (Colin Moss) and Assistant District Attorney Frieda Black (Parker Posey) cut corners to convict Michael—and deliver comedic performances that underscore the mockery of the way their real-life counterparts behaved in court.

Through this grief-stricken family turmoil and legal strategizing, the stairs she has He started a treacherous climb towards saying something really useful. It’s messy and huge in scope and ambition. But whether this effort will be sufficient to justify retrying the case remains to be seen.