The opening of episode three of Landscapers, directed by Will Sharpe (“The Electrical Life of Louis Wain”, “Flowers (TV)”), is strangely beautiful and horrible simultaneously.
It has a sixties vibe from the music but also from the imagery, Sharpe electing to freeze black and white images that, in part, look like the swinging dancers you see so often in sixties movies.
We then cut to see Susan Edwards, Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”, “The Crown (TV)”), and Christopher Edwards, David Thewlis (“Justice League”, “Wonder Woman”), dating videos, shot in 4:3, both of them more than a little uncomfortable.
Susan likes reading, “well I am a librarian”, she laughs, movies, particularly Westerns, as she reels off a list of Western actors she likes. Chris meanwhile likes movies too, in particular Gerard Depardieu.
The police in, Samuel Anderson (“Gunpowder Milkshake”, “Sweetheart”), go to see Chris’s step mother who tells him that when Chris’s brother, David, past away, it hit him hard, very hard. However, she won’t say what Chris means when he describes Susan as ‘fragile’.
We see Chris in a state, inconsolable, and we see Susan write to Gerard Depardieu asking for a signed photo for Chris. Back in the interview room and the police inform Chris just how much all the ‘tat’, the hundreds of pieces of memorabilia, is worth, just £700.
Later in the interview Chris blurts out that Susan couldn’t have shot both her parents as she was scared of guns. He knows as he used to have some, the police woop!
Next, Sharpe plays with us again as Kate O’Flynn (“Wanderlust (TV)”, “Peterloo”), mid-way through the interview, gets up and walks off the set, others begin pulling it down. Susan and solicitor, Dipo Ola, follow, Susan constantly exclaiming, “this isn’t how it happened”.
You see behind the scenes, the different sets, as the police tell us how they think it all went, very different from Susan and Chris’s version. The police believe both of them were involved, both killed their parents.
By the end, it doesn’t really matter, the police have all they need to go to trial. To top it all off, at the end, we see that it was Susan writing to Chris, not Gerard Depardieu.
Visually, Landscapers is supreme, I love how Sharpe effortlessly flips from colour to black and white, gets our protagonists to go from happy to sad, how he doesn’t just break the fourth wall, he smashes through it.
I’m still a little shaky on how the mini-series sits tonally given the subject matter though. Although this is addressed somewhat in this episode, it feels a lot more serious.
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7th December 2021
THE QUICK SELL
As they narrow in on the likeliest scenarios from that tragic night, Lancing and Wilkie’s focus shifts to Christopher’s past. While they exploit his recurring tendency to go too far for those he loves.
TV / STREAMING PLATFORM