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Secrets & Lies in 'The Sister'
January 22, 2021  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment
 


It's no secret in Hulu's new import drama The Sister that Nathan Redman (Russell Tovey, top) has a secret.

From almost the first moment of The Sister, a four-part psychological crime tale that becomes available on Hulu Friday, the look on Nathan's face as well as the ominous music playing behind every scene tell us that Nathan knows something he doesn't want the world to know.

We quickly learn it has to do with the disappearance ten years earlier of a woman named Elise Fox, who was last seen at a 2009 New Year's Eve party.

We know that in 2013, Elise's sister, Holly (Amrita Acharia), went on television to beg for anyone with any information about Elise to come forward and give the family some closure.

Shortly thereafter, Nathan contacted Holly on the pretext of wanting to engage her services as a real estate agent, and when we fast-forward again to 2020, Nathan and Holly are married.

By then, we've heard enough of the ominous music and seen enough apprehensive glances from Nathan to grasp that something is off in this situation.

That mystery element doesn't fully crystallize, however, until Nathan gets a visit from an old acquaintance, Bob Morrow (Bertie Carvel).

Bob looks like a disheveled crazy man and at first talks that way. What he says, however, doesn't sound crazy at all, in spite of Nathan's efforts to twist it in that direction.

Bob says that some wooded land will be excavated for a new housing development and that he and Nathan need to relocate some unspecified object before one of the developer's bulldozers unknowingly comes across it.

Nathan clearly wants Bob to be talking crazy about this whole subject. Just as clearly, Nathan knows Bob isn't.

The story unspools from there, and while it might sound like we already know what happened, we don't.

We're not wrong in assuming Nathan has some explaining to do. We just might not want to make any hasty assumptions about what that explanation might reveal.

The Sister, adapted by Neil Cross from his own novel Burial, runs just four episodes, so things unfold at a fairly rapid clip. While Nathan, Bob, and Holly remain the central figures, a few other friends and relatives come into the story and naturally complicate matters for Nathan.

The viewer gets pieces of the story in brief flashbacks, ensuring that we never know as much as Nathan and Bob know. We know a lot more than Holly, however, and that's where much of the tension builds as Nathan and Bob figuratively wrestle over what, if anything, they need to do about this potential big dig.

The Sister, billed as a Hulu original, aired in the U.K. last fall. It's set in Britain, but because the story feels like it could happen anywhere, it doesn't feel especially British. While Bob's paranormal connection gives it a mild sci-fi tint, it focuses much more on human responses and interaction.

In the end, it's solid psychodrama with notably good performances by Tovey and Acharia.

 
 
 
 
 
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1 Comments
 
 
Zeke
I had the opportunity to watch this in the UK, where Russell Tovey is revered, last fall. I found it uncomfortable, and mostly boring. i stuck it out, expecting it to make more sense by the end. It did. Yet it was very unsatisfying.
I found it dragged out, without a redeeming denoument.
If it doesn't appeal at first, don't expect it to improve.
Jan 23, 2021   |  Reply
 
 
 
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