The Alienist, mini-review
I finished the 10th episode of The Alienist this week. It’s good. Here’s a rundown:
1. Daniel Bruhl. He is Dr. Laszlo Kreizler. His ticks, his voice (okay, Bruhl is German like Kreizler) were spot on.
2. The Isaacs were perfectly cast and well played. The actress who played Mary was also great.
3. The police were excellent! The dialogue and the actors, veteran’s all, earned their keep!
4. The sets and setting. The colors, the dark tones, the tone of the music. The production design enhanced the plot and characters. If there is justice in the world, it will get some awards for set design.
5. The script. The producers spent money on the writers and even brought in John Sayles. It paid off big time. The dialogue was fitting to the characters and plot and a few times made me think, “wow!”
6. The themes. Poverty, the innocent who suffer, those that suffer who hurt others, what is sanity, corruption. The themes are played out well throughout the story.
1. The casting of Sara Howard. Perhaps it’s unfair for me to judge, for I loved the character in the book. However, Dakota Fanning is lightweight as a second most important character in the book. Her face too often looked for approval or had a blank stare. The Howard I read would not ask for approval from the men. Fanning didn’t completely ruin it, but compared to the rest of the cast, she was less effective. Part of it is she is not used to being in serious dramas like the other actors. The role was too big for her. The woman who played Mary, a mute, did more with her face than Fanning with her face and words.
2. The looks of the killer. When I read the book, the face of the killer terrified me. Was that gruesome face censored by the producers? Physically, he did well, but his face didn’t live up to expectations.
3. Theodore Roosevelt. He was not as memorable as he was in the book.
4. More could have been made of the cover-up of crimes, but that would have taken two more episode and perhaps it would have been worth the cost of production.
Rating: Pay Full Price.
It’s a good bit of thoughtful entertainment that does well with the source material and doesn’t milk it for two seasons to ruin it.