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Saturday, January 23, 2021

HBO’s The Undoing: A spell-binding whodunnit

Created by David E Kelly and based on Jean Hanff’s book You Should Have Known, The Undoing is a spell-binding whodunnit.

Written by Anvita Singh | New Dellhi | Updated: November 25, 2020 11:07:05 am
the undoing showNicole Kidman and Hugh Grant play the lead roles in HBO's The Undoing. (Photo: HBO)

It has been the season of thrillers for quite some time. In fact, it can even be argued that it has always been the season of thrillers. Just like romance, people seem inherently predisposed to the consumption of suspenseful dramas. We cannot get enough of them. But sadly, good mysteries are few and far between. So we must appreciate a series which comes up with novel and intriguing ways to once again build interest in the genre. The Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant-starrer HBO show The Undoing is a step in the right direction.

The plot

A wealthy couple, Jonathan and Grace (played by Hugh and Nicole), live in Manhattan with their teenage son Henry (Noah Jupe). While Jonathan is a pediatrician, Grace is a psychotherapist. A pretty, young woman called Elena Alves (Matilda De Angelis) enters their lives, quietly but weirdly. And things start to unravel after Jonathan goes ‘missing’ post Elena’s death.

What a cast!

Director Susanne Bier struck gold with her cast. What a list of actors! From the versatile Nicole Kidman to the veteran Donald Sutherland, The Undoing is a star-studded affair. Although I was a bit skeptical about the casting of Grant in a psychological-thriller, the British actor has proved me wrong with every facial expression and the layers of silence behind it. It is a revelation to see him play the douche (once again), but in a totally different premise. Nicole is arresting as usual. The supporting cast is quite exemplary too, from the detective to the lawyers, and to the supportive friend, you cannot help but surrender.

Good news – the intrigue lasts

With only the season finale remaining, I can safely vouch that The Undoing is fast-paced, interesting and more importantly, doesn’t compromise on its narrative for the sake of the ‘pulpy effect’. It has consistently remained sensational and stunning-looking (a hat-tip to cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle). In fact, the camera work is so brilliant that I would say it brings the city of New York alive.

Fingers crossed for a jaw-dropping finale.

The Undoing is streaming on Disney Plus Hotstar.

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