With ‘Sharp Objects,’ HBO debuts another miniseries with big ambitions

HBO still has “Game of Thrones,” one of the biggest shows on TV. But lately, the premium channel has made the most noise by thinking small.

Mini, even.

The medium once known as the miniseries — until someone decided that didn’t have enough pizzazz and rebranded it the “limited series” or even the pretentious “event series” — received a kick in the pants last spring with “Big Little Lies.”

Based on the best-selling Liane Moriarty novel, it boasted Oscar winners Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, with each episode directed by Oscar nominee Jean-Marc Vallee (“Dallas Buyers Club”). The drama, which always was intended to be a one-off, became such a pop-culture phenomenon that it forced a second season that will co-star Meryl Streep.

Now, HBO is looking to duplicate that success with “Sharp Objects” (9 p.m. Sunday), based on the novel by Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”), directed by Vallee and starring five-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams.

Camille Preaker (Adams), a reporter for the fictional St. Louis Chronicle, is assigned to return to her tiny hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri, to cover the disappearance of a teenage girl just months after a teenager was murdered there.

Dark, stylized and not for the squeamish, the early installments of the eight-episode drama feel a bit like Rachel McAdams’ arc in the second season of HBO’s “True Detective” — only well thought out.

Camille wants nothing more to do with Wind Gap, but she returns following a push from her editor (Miguel Sandoval). She’s “only half good at writing,” he tells her, and this could be her big break.

Wind Gap, population 2,000, hasn’t changed much since she left, only now the town is struck numb by grief. At least that’s the way it appears on the outside. The creamy, catty center remains, as does the economic divide between old money and trash. So which is Camille? “Trash,” she says. “From old money.”

Back in Wind Gap, Camille moves into her old bedroom in the plantationesque mansion of her youth, under the dubious gaze of her mother (Patricia Clarkson), who just may be biologically incapable of being pleased. Despite orders from her boss not to investigate the crime, Camille quickly forges a relationship of convenience with the Kansas City police detective (Chris Messina) brought in to assist the town’s reluctant police chief (Matt Craven). All the while, she’s haunted by microbursts of troubling images from her past — a la USA Network’s “The Sinner” — that she either can’t or refuses to confront.

“Sharp Objects” offers up a gripping mystery alongside a fierce, provocative role for its leading lady — even if both at times feel a bit artificial.

When the troubled Camille is congratulated for having tackled her demons, her response — “My demons are not remotely tackled. They’re just mildly concussed.” — comes across far more writerly than natural.

Then there’s the matter of her luggage, which mostly consists of a paper bag filled with 10 tiny bottles of vodka, a carton of Parliaments, a few candy bars and a tin of Altoids.

It’s one thing to show that a character’s life is in disarray based on the things she carries.

It’s quite another for her to face her demons while looking like she just mugged a cigarette girl.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Famous Infinity Mirror Room is open in Las Vegas
Yayoi Kusama's "Aftermath of Obliteration of Infinity" mirror room is open at the Bellagio in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Glittering Lights dazzles Las Vegas
The Glittering Lights holiday display is shining at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Mat Luschek/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Skybar at Waldorf Astoria lets you sip your way through Las Vegas history
Skybar At Waldorf Astoria Lets You Sip Your Way Through Las Vegas History (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stan Lee in Las Vegas for Madame Tussauds unveiling
Stan Lee Las Vegas speaks with the Review-Journal's Chris Lawrence about his love for his fans and shared universes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ultimate Belgium Waffle Sundae at Lavo
Lavo at the Palazzo serves a 16-scoop ice cream sundae that costs $800. (Rochelle Ricahrds, Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel lLas Vegas Review-Journal)
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"The Lion King" roars into Las Vegas
New music club 172 brings loud luxury to Las Vegas
New music venue at the Rio brings rock ’n’ roll and food together at intimate club. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fans fear for Zak Bagans’ safety in Las Vegas Halloween TV special
Fly Linq zip line time lapse
Fly Linq zip line timelapse
Shaq opens Las Vegas restaurant, Big Chicken
Shaq opens Las Vegas restaurant, Big Chicken
Robert Deniro And Chef Nobu Talk About The Success Of Nobu
Robert Deniro And Chef Nobu Talk About The Success Of Nobu (Al Mancini Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like