Job by Alexis Lebrun June 13, 2022
Do you think that British thrillers can no longer surprise you because you know their recipe by heart? Think again: in Landscapers, two of his majesty’s best actors have a great time playing a couple responsible for a sordid crime, in front of the camera of a daring young director who explodes the codes of the genre.
Mr and Mrs Everybody, really?
It is a criminal case that marked the United Kingdom ten years ago. In 2012, British police received a disturbing tip, when a woman informed them that two elderly people who had been missing for fifteen years were actually buried in the garden of a house in Mansfield, in the county of Nottinghamshire. . As a bonus, this woman indicates that she has this info from her stepson, Christopher Edwards, exiled in France with his wife Susan precisely since the disappearance of the latter’s parents in 1998.
And for good reason: the two bodies unearthed are indeed those of the parents of Susan, William and Patricia Wycherley. The guilt of the Edwards couple is not too much in doubt – they will be sentenced to life imprisonment in 2014 – and this is not really the point of Landscaperseven if the four episodes still reconstitute the police investigation, since the series begins at the time of the denunciation in 2012 and ends at the trial in 2014.
The whole thing is embellished with numerous flashbacks which multiply the temporalities and in particular make it possible to go back to the time of the facts and the flight to France of the two spouses, who left after having emptied their bank accounts and those of their victims. What interests Ed Sinclair more, the creator and screenwriter of the series, is therefore first of all this love relationship for life and death between Christopher and Susan, two very sweet people in appearance, and whom no one would suspect of a premeditated double murder.
But we realize it quickly, it is also about a couple of misfits who have lost contact with reality for a long time. Despite their financial difficulties – it was to ask his stepmother for money that Christopher confessed to the crime for the first time – they spend almost without counting on their passion: old memories of a fantasized Hollywood, and more particularly the golden age of westerns.
Between the Coen brothers and David Lynch
To embody these characters as strange as their acts are odious, two actors were needed capable of acting and going from the pathetic to the sordid without forgetting the emotion or the absurd, and often all of this at the same time. Faced with this challenge, David Thewlis and Olivia Colman are simply extraordinary. With his indescribable facial expressions and his recognizable diction among a thousand, the first reminds us how much he is an underestimated actor. And since his unforgettable performance as VM Varga, the gently terrifying big bad from season 3 of Fargo (Netflix), we know that he is cut out for the disturbing roles worthy of the black comedies of the Coen brothers, of whom we very often think in front of the plot and the absurd but strangely endearing characters of Landscapers.
As for Olivia Colman, there is almost no need to sing her praises, so much the Oscar-winning Briton for another dark comedy, The Favorite (Yórgos Lánthimos, 2018) is already rightly considered one of the best working actresses. In addition to its world famous role of Queen Elizabeth II in two seasons of The Crown (Netflix)she had also played in the excellent series Flowers (Netflix), made by the same person as Landscapers : Will Sharpe. After having already demonstrated his technical mastery in his first feature film, The Extraordinary Life of Louis Wain (CANAL +), with Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy, here he is putting it back in a series.
It is also thanks to him that Landscapers is a UFO that stands out so much from all-comers of British thrillers, because its staging marries the deranged psychology of its characters to vary the colors, effects, image formats, inlays and hallucinogenic filters, to the point that the mystery of the series sometimes turns to the mystical and can even ogle on the side of the masterpiece of David Lynch, Twin Peaks (CHANNEL+). If only it could last longer…
Landscapers episodes 1 to 4, broadcast from June 13 on CANAL+.
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Landscapers, the latest British nugget with Olivia Colman | myCANAL DRC