in Pennsylvania, a social thriller against a background of deindustrialisation


Some series require, or even require, a little patience. In these times of overabundant supply, the bet is daring. So it is better in these cases to be a miniseries – question of available brain time. It is also better to subscribe to a certain genre tradition, suitable for capturing an audience in Charentaise with predictable habits and tastes (which does not prevent them from being good). It is better to finally put one or two well-known names at the head of the bill, not necessarily stars but actors of a certain standing, with a somewhat demanding career.

American Rust miraculously meets these three conditions, which allows him to escape in extremis the catastrophe which threatens however in view of the first episodes. Patience, therefore.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers With “Mare of Easttown”, Kate Winslet leads the investigation under the gray skies of Pennsylvania

Social polar on a background of deindustrialisation, American Rust suffers from its first shots from a disadvantageous comparison with one of the best detective miniseries of the year, Mare of Easttown. HBO production aired in spring, Big won critics and audiences alike with her fine but relentless portrayal of a small town in the “Rust Belt” in which an investigator embodied by “queen” Kate Winslet was investigating the death of a teenage girl. Adapted from a novel by American journalist Philipp Meyer, American Rust It is also gaining a foothold in this America of medium-sized cities with a devastated economy, where fate often comes down to two options: leave or stay.

Lazy writing

Despite suspicion of murder hanging over him following an altercation with a police officer, young Billy (Alex Neustaedter) chose to stay in Buell, a small town in Pennsylvania plagued by drugs where he lives with his mother (Maura Tierney). His friend Isaac, who was with him when the policeman died, chose to flee to California, leaving behind his father, widowed and sick, and his sister, married to a wealthy New Yorker.

From a laborious exposure, it emerges that the death of the police officer, otherwise corrupt and drugged, is linked to trafficking in Fentanyl, an opioid, which the local police chief, Del Harris (Jeff Daniels), wants at all costs. elucidate. As in Mare of Easttown, the more or less strong bonds between the members of the community carry within them the elements of resolution of the intrigue, which does not hold in suspense very long.

Isaac’s setbacks on the road as well as Chief Harris’ cases of conscience provide some of the best scenes, however, and hint that the series has the best in store for last. This is not necessarily enough to compensate for lazy writing even in its dialogues, nor to make people forget that from costumes to sets, this representation of America is sorely lacking in authenticity.

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