TV Review – The Hollywood Reporter

In the middle Doubt, a character with superhuman skills offers a bit of advice about going undetected: Always be the gray man. That is, be general and unremarkable – the point is to blend seamlessly so you won’t be remembered. That’s advice, unfortunately, Doubt it seems to have been engraved in its own mind. Aside from a finale that feels remarkable only for its sloppiness, this thriller is as forgettable as they come.

Initially, it promised excitement. In the opening minutes of the premiere, Leo (Gerran Howell), the teenage son of the American PR witch Katherine Newman (Uma Thurman), disappears from a luxury New York hotel after being attacked by a mob. four masked attackers. Security cam footage of the incident was leaked, then went viral, putting more pressure on law enforcement to catch the perpetrator. Within 48 hours, they had identified exactly four suspects, all British citizens: chief financial officer Natalie (Georgina Campbell), university lecturer Tara (Elizabeth Henstridge), cybersecurity expert Aadesh (Kunal Nayyar) and trained assassin Sean Tilson (Elyes Gabel).


Key point

As generic and forgettable as its title.

Release date: Friday, February 4
Cast: Uma Thurman, Kunal Nayyar, Angel Coulby, Noah Emmerich, Georgina Campbell, Elyes Gabel, Elizabeth Henstridge, Tom Rhys-Harries
Creator: Rob Williams

All four of them swear they don’t know anything, and with the exception of Sean, they don’t seem like kidnappers – people who are complete strangers to their normal lives, until they are handcuffed. before shock and horror. (Natalie’s sudden arrest at her own wedding, resulting in an implausible image of a bride in a cell.) But of course, everyone has secrets they don’t tell the authorities or each other, and of course the more we learn about them. their innocence becomes less obvious. Meanwhile, the real kidnappers, whoever they may be, have made their claim by hacking seemingly every public TV screen in America: They just want Katherine Newman to “tell the truth,” whatever that means.

Doubt widely authoritative, in that the dialogue is usable, the performances are not objectionable (though Thurman viewers should be warned she’s barely in it), the story is easy enough to track. Sometimes, it serves up some thoughtful stylistic touches. The heavy use of security camera footage serves as a chilling reminder that the mere act of surveying someone can make them look shady, even if they’re not doing anything alien. fidgeting in an uncomfortable bus seat. For those armed with plenty of time, a lot of patience, and a burning curiosity to solve the mystery, all of that might be enough to sustain them through the eight-episode season.

But the show’s insistence on playing its secrets too close to the vest ended up working against it. The suspects are not only mysterious but also confusing, making them difficult to care about. (Sean is the only one who seems to have any personality, and that personality is “third grade .” Bourne villain,” so it’s not easy for him either. agencies are forced to work together.

Although the central premise has a high stake, Doubt lack of urgency as Leo barely registers as a person, his mother Katherine feels more like an idea of ​​a wealthy businesswoman than a human being in her own right and people Others seem to lose patience for the whole ordeal rather than worrying about whether Leo will be okay.

The same, similar, Doubt takes its sweet time to reveal the larger themes it’s working towards, only to fumble by groping for too many of them at once. The series’ approach to these ideas is best exemplified by the public’s response to the kidnapping, which has been both overwhelming and indeterminate. No one but the kidnappers didn’t know for sure what “truth” could be mentioned, but people started taking to the streets to protest against Katherine. At least one episode of Black mirror about the damn prime minister a pig has captured some of the troll-y spirit of internet discourse. Doubt only gives the vague idea that movements are about people wanting to be heard.

A season-ending speech about the dangers of misinformation feels like one of the few flashes of the series’ life, not because it’s well-executed but because it’s not: It feels like one of the few moments where emotions really run through Doubtits slick, with heavy language suggesting that a screenwriter is working to their utmost frustration through their art. (Reading more cynically might mean it catches the eye of a screenwriter who captures gravity through current events, but I would be cool.) Doubt Getting there, however, seems too little, too late.

DoubtTheir villains have made it clear from the start that they intend to send a message that cannot be ignored. But almost everything about the series they’re watching, including the title itself, can also be designed to disappear from memory.

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