DAVID BIANCULLI

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THE CASUAL VACANCY
April 29, 2015  | By David Bianculli  | 1 comment

HBO, 8:00 p.m. ET

 

MINISERIES PREMIERE: This three-part, three-hour miniseries, based on the novel by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, is presented over two nights by HBO, with the first two hours tonight and the concluding hour tomorrow night. It’s about a fictional small town in England, called Pagford, awash in some particularly nasty local politics. A charitable halfway house for low-income families and recovering addicts, housed in a stately old donated building, is one council vote away from being repurposed as a high-end hotel and vacation spa. The local politician opposing the switch dies suddenly, leaving a vacancy on the council that various opportunists are quick to try and fill – while, after the man’s death, someone using his name (or at least his spirit) takes to the Internet to attack his would-be successors, like a sort of ghostly Gossip Girl. Even with Rory Kinnear as the idealistic politician and Michael Gambon as his much more Machiavellian opposition, The Casual Vacancy plays much too broadly and predictably. Only one performance stands out here as truly special: That’s Abigail Lawrie, playing the angry, punkish teen Krystal Weedon (pictured). But caring for her character, in the end, is a futile exercise, because what happens to her, and to everyone else in this miniseries, doesn’t quite deserve the time investment. For a full review, see Ed Bark's Uncle Barky's Bytes.

 
 
 
 
 
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1 Comments
 
 
Zeke Black
I watched all 3 hours, incorrectly expecting something, anything to happen, and find it was tedious. Even the promising internet plot thread gets left hanging --uselessly. One likes Krystal, but only because she is the only character worth investing in... yet even that is weak. They changed her end, as the novel is even bleaker. Would anyone given this any time if it wasn't JKR?
Apr 29, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
 
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