For some reason we are getting used to it, maybe too much, to see Elisabeth Moss in roles of suffering and tormented. ‘The Handmaid’s Tale‘, ‘The invisible man‘ and now comes his new series: ‘The Luminous’ (Shining Girls), a notable thriller from AppleTV+ in which the actress is a survivor of a brutal assault.
With Wagner Moura (‘narcs‘) as a co-star playing a journalist who is allied with her, the series tells the story of Kirby, a Chicago newspaper archivist who discovers that a dead woman has been found with many common features with their own assault years before. It will thus begin to search for the perpetrator.
So far we could be talking about a thriller to use. However, the story adds a key ingredient that makes one, seasoned (and equally tired) of this type of series, raise an eyebrow with interest: the protagonist lives in a temporary anomaly, in which suddenly everything around her changes.
Some are more anecdotal (but disturbing) changes, while others affect her life more (she comes home and turns out to have a husband instead of being single). Something that happens to him since he woke up in the hospital after the assault. This, and hints that the assailant (Jamie Bell) has acted over a period of several decades by having the ability to travel between epochs.
a refreshing cocktail
Although it is not the first time that we have a “time-traveling assassin” (it is almost a trope of the genre), Silka Luisa’s script integrates it into the very DNA of the series, playing with the intrigue genre and making an interesting mix of thriller (journalistic?), exploration of trauma, character study and just the right touch of science fiction.
There’s a bit of a loss here in the adaptation, as the novel the series is based on much more focused on “surviving trauma” than on the hunt for the killer. But hey, it’s always appreciated that adaptations find their own way and, in fact, it’s quite common.
On the other hand, the tempo with which they develop the series is somewhat frustrating (or, at least, inefficient). Perhaps it is not because of a structure or montage issue but more because of the fact that, since from the first minute (literally) we know the culprit and the series goes quite ahead with the fact that he has that ability to travel in time, He can’t quite solve keeping the flame alive.
By continually seeing Kirby’s point of view, ‘The Shining Ones’ is concerned with conveying a certain state of confusion in the viewer. A sensation sought by getting inside the head of a wounded, broken woman. It’s already a familiar situation for us, as it is customary on Moss’s part, who maintains almost perfect control of the many nuances of his character.
These issues do not imply that fiction fails to catch. By all accounts it is a quite effective and absorbing thriller with certain touches in history and staging that seem influenced by Stephen King. But sometimes it works better when it focuses on the trauma than on the more pure intrigue part.
In short, ‘The Luminous’ is a successful and sophisticated thriller whose unusual premise it is a good incentive for the most “tired” viewer of the genre. A complex series that continues to confirm the good path that Apple TV is taking in its productions.
We want to thank the writer of this write-up for this remarkable material
‘The Luminous’: an absorbing thriller with Elisabeth Moss in which Apple TV + hits the mark with its refreshing mix of genres