Saturday, March 31, 2018

A few scares, some interesting characters dot Netflix's new set-in-Wales series, REQUIEM

The best thing to be said for REQUIEM -- a new supernatural series from the BBC now available via Netflix streaming -- is that it's short: only six not-quite-hour-long episodes before it's over.

So, even if you get past the final one feeling, as TrustMovies did, that you probably will not continue for another season, at least you'll have only wasted around six hours, rather than the ten, thirteen or even sixteen you can mange via certain other current series.

"Wasted" is not quite the proper word, either. Requiem did at least hold my attention well enough that I continued for the six episodes. (Lately, I give a series two full installments before I sign off -- as I did with The Crown, which I'm told got a whole lot better as it moved along.)

Requiem is the product of creator/writer Kris Mrksa (shown at left) with all six episodes directed by Mahalia Belo (shown below). Though I'm a fan of the supernatural so far as entertainment goes, I have not seen much of it that works all that well of late.

In this series, the supernatural seems both
all-important and somehow not nearly as important as the missing-child cold case at the heart of the series. There were times throughout that I found myself asking, "Why did they bother making this supernatural-related at all?" But then, by the finale, the supernatural takes over completely. So go figure.

Better to not give away much about the plot to let you discover the ins and outs on your own (such as they are). For me, it was the excellent characterizations and performances by the supporting cast that made the series worth watching.

While the leading role, taken by Lydia Wilson (above, right, and below, left) proves finally more tiresome than anything else (she's a world-renowned cellist who, mid-season, smashes her cello into bits and with it most of the minor good will she's managed to accumulate with us), the role of her best friend, Hal (played by Joel Fry, above left), proves a good deal more productive.

Hal becomes involves with the daughter of the local pub owner (Sian Reese-Williams, above), who takes her place as the most interesting and sympathetic of all the characters on view. The especially convoluted plot finally churns up those supernatural goings-on, but along with this comes some sub-plots, one of which involves pot-growing and seems more than a little ridiculous, given all else that's happening around it.

The past -- and the guilt that goes with it -- is constantly dredged up, too, and for awhile this works. Until it begins to seems more like the writer is simply vamping to fill out the six-episode time-frame. For eye candy we do get to see Aussie actor James Frecheville (above, of Animal Kingdom) looking older but ever-hotter as he ages.

As I say, this one may be "iffy," but you'll probably know within an episode or two if you want to stick with it. And six episodes is hardly a life-enduring sentence. Streaming digitally via Netflix, Requiem (a little too "standard" a title, if you ask me), Season One, is available now. 

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