Olivia Colman & David Thewlis deliver a masterclass in acting in a stunning new true crime drama.

2021 is not yet done with exemplary dramas with Landscapers one of the year’s best masterclasses in acting.

The 4 part UK drama is based on incidents of 2014 when husband and wife Susan and Christopher Edwards were arrested over the discovery of two dead bodies in the backyard of their former home.

It was a secret they had kept for 15 years.

In the pivotal roles are Olivia Colman and David Thewlis, as a mild-mannered couple whom we meet living destitute in Paris when the miniseries opens.

Christopher (Thewlis) struggles to land a job, largely due to the language barrier, while Susan (Colman) immerses herself in her love of golden age Hollywood films, from Gene Kelly to Gary Cooper. Gerard Depardieu also looms large, in ways I won’t spoil…

But when Christopher confides their secret to his step-mother, as he pleads for financial assistance, she spills to the British police setting off a chain of events that will lead to their arrest.

While Christopher is at pains to protect their marriage, Susan is seemingly blind to the ramifications of their circumstance, at one point describing it to her lawyer Douglas Hylton (Dipo Ola) as “a bit of a pickle.”

Lost in old Hollywood westerns and accruing expensive memorabilia, Susan “sees beauty where there isn’t much,” says Christopher. His love and devotion to his wife knows no bounds, but it may be his undoing.

“I can’t let Susan down. She’s very fragile,” he says.

Driving the investigation are bickering cops, DC Emma Lancing (Kate O’Flynn) and DC Paul Wilkie (Samuel Anderson), adding to the dark humour of this tale by writer Ed Sinclair. They are acting on a tip-off but know they have to build a solid case especially if they are to extradite the couple from France.

Colman and Thewlis are quite magnificent in their roles as a devoted, suburban couple who could very well be monsters within. Later episodes contain stunning, tour de force scenes which will surely elicit award nominations.

Yet director Will Sharpe also brings superb imagination and stylistic choices to the work. Not just playing with time, it blurs the lines between Hollywood / Britain, naturalistic / unconventional, colour / black & white and even the process of filmmaking itself.

Suffice to say there’s been nothing quite like this in a very long time.


Landscapers screens Wednesdays on Stan.

9 Responses

  1. I watched the first episode and the first thing I thought of was 1960’s working class Britain ( even though it’s France), and movies like Billy Liar (1963) which starred Tom Courtney. Billy Liar was also fantasy based with a character trapped in the humdrum of working class life. David Thewlis is your classic British working class actor, he is the same mould as Christopher Eccleston in the roles he tends to play, both are excellent actors when put in the right dramatic environment. My main gripe is the blurry photography, I wondered if my eyes needed checking again, there seems to be a trend lately to blur the edges of scenes or include over exposure flashes (as seen in Lost in Space), it doesn’t work too well when photographed in digital UHD I wish it would stop.

  2. The perfect excuse to get a month or two subscription of Stan over summer. So many things I am yet to view (since my last subscription) and this review seals it David.

    I am one of the few who dips in and out of some streaming platforms (Binge and Stan) and take a mental note of shows that I want to watch so I am not ‘wasting money subscribing to too many at once)!

  3. I was absolutely gobsmacked by season 1 of Sharpe’s “Flowers” (also starring Colman), and marvelled at the journey he took us on over the course of that series. It was the best thing I’d seen in a very long time. Sounds like this might be even better.

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