Patrick Melrose – revisited

Last October, filming was just under way and none of us knew exactly what to expect from this 5 part mini series. Although, we knew Benedict Cumberbatch was involved. He had declared his love for Edward St. Aubyn’s “Patrick Melrose” novels before, so we had an inkling we would be in for something extra special and expectations rose with the news of filming coming in.

Now, a couple of months later and with all five instalments of Patrick Melrose having been aired, it is time to say, wow, did they ever meet, if not exceed those expectations!

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Back then, I wondered about the choices the creative team (scriptwriter David Nicholls, director Edward Berger, producer and lead actor Benedict Cumberbatch) would make in order to bring the spirit of the books alive.

It turned out, the first two books are swapped for the adaptation: ‘Bad News’ with Patrick’s drug-addled trip to NYC in order to pick up his father’s ashes thus becomes the first instalment of the series. Setting the outcome before the cause, this gives Cumberbatch the stage he needs to fully establish Patrick in the viewers’ hearts and minds. Needless to say that his acting is out of this world throughout all five instalments of Patrick Melrose. 

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(c) Vanity Fair

It’s obvious, this is a matter of the heart for Benedict, his dream role, and he gives it his all, no matter how big or small the scene seems to be. We see him exposed and vulnerable as never before and yet: just a couple of minutes into the first episode and you might want to punch him already, yell some sense into him. You sit there, shaking your head at the screen going “NO!”, but at the same time you can’t but deeply root for him, hoping he will find a way out of the maze that he’s gotten himself into.Read More »

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The Child in Time – Musings

BBC One’s The Child in Time got some harsh criticism, mostly for the production, while the acting, especially by Benedict Cumberbatch and Kelly MacDonald was generally praised.

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Copyright: BBC One

As in the book, the storyline focuses on Stephen and Julie, as they try to cope with the loss of their daughter Kate, a second thread focusing on Stephen’s friend Charles Darke (nomen est omen!), his sudden retreat to the countryside and subsequent regress into childhood. We also learn about Stephen’s parents and their past, the „pub scene“ having a central importance for the plot, as turns out in the progress of the story.

The book has more plot with elaborate descriptions of characters and situations, making the storyline somewhat less elusive, no way to put all of that into a 90 minutes timeframe for tv though. Some viewers thus got quite irritated watching the tv film. They sensed plotholes and got confused by the non-chronological storyline, the flashbacks and flash forwards. In my opinion though, the makers of The Child in Time were adamant to get the message across not only by what is said, but also by what you see:Read More »