The Staircase (Mini-series, 8 episodes): dead stairs – Series and movie reviews, news


Fixing all possible and possible cases has become an army at the moment on small screens and especially on platforms. We feel that this influx of mini-series may be due to COVID-19 which may have prevented the creators from being creative. Staircase adapts the documentary series of the same name that started in 2004. Created by Antonio Campos (The Devil Always) quickly immerses us in this incredible story. Kathleen Peterson died but we don’t know the outcome immediately. A memorial to the time of Kathleen’s death exists to reveal more about what happened. Unlike The Girl from Plainville earlier this year, The Staircase cares deeply about its structure and characters. While some episodes are too long, the series always finds a way to revive its story in an interesting way.

The series follows the trial of Michael Peterson, a detective novelist accused of murdering his wife Kathleen, and the 16-year legal battle that followed.

Acting is also part of The Staircase’s success. Toni Collette as Kathleen is charming and touching, giving the character a sense of authenticity. Colin Firth for his part adds a disturbing side to his character that makes him mysterious enough and at the same time one wonders about his real involvement in his wife’s death. He has everything of a loving father and a devoted husband as the character’s cracks slowly reveal themselves. This then makes it possible to create a true mystery around the personality of Michael Peterson. Michael says at first that his wife fell down the stairs after a night of drinking, except that the injuries and other 35 injuries and physical injuries appear to be different. The medical examiner then sees a different story than Michael’s. When Michael was accused of murdering his wife the following year, French director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade was allowed to write the case in a controversial 2004 mini-series.

I haven’t seen the 2004 scripted series but The Staircase made me want to check it out. The case of Michael being kidnapped by Lestrade then serves as a starting point for Campos and Cohn here. Unlike the documentary series that were created in a linear fashion, The Staircase favors a disjointed narrative that moves between years to create something more impactful. We go from Michael’s case to Kathleen’s death through all the emotions that surrounded this case. The narrative is therefore not smooth and perhaps this is what The Staircase achieves best here. This mini-series is hopeful in the sense that we have already seen everything that has already been done in this case (even if personally I will discover with HBO Max) but it also gives the opportunity for the series to do something more original with all the things. which is in his hands and which has already been seen by other viewers.

In its setting, The Staircase avoids falling into the pitfalls of other mini-series inspired by real events and thus delivers an original and effective narrative. All this is greatly helped by a solid cast from start to finish. What a joy to also see Juliette Binoche whom I had not seen for a long time and whom I miss on the small and big screen. So, Staircase is a pleasant surprise that has its height but knows how to keep us on our toes till the end, thanks to smart dialogues, licked stage and good acting.

Rating: 7/10. In short, a successful mini-series in the news that caused a lot of ink to flow.

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