The Sinner Review – Spoiler Free
The Sinner is a new TV mini series which is based on the book of the same name by Petra Hammesfahr. The show stars Jessica Biel, Christopher Abbott, Abby Miller and Bill Pullman. The series is in the mystery/thriller genre and is about a young mother who struggles with random violent actions of which she cannot control.
When I first saw the trailer for this appear on Netflix, I was interested to see what the show might be like. I hadn’t really seen Jessica Biel in much for a long time and Bill Pullman is usually quite good in things he gets involved in. Being a thriller, which is a genre I enjoy and there being a little bit of a mystery surrounding the plot of the series, it seemed like a good show to spend the weekend. on.
The show tells us the story of Cora (Jessica Biel) who in the first episode is having a good time with her child and her husband on the beach. Suddenly something strange happens to her, she seems to become maddened with a couple on the beach and after some music plays, she goes insane and stabs one of the beach visitors, killing him in the process. Cora is quickly arrested and is guilty of the crime. But the thing is, why did she do that? Cora has no idea why or any memory of the man at all. Harry (Bill Pullman) is tasked with investigating Cora and her case and he suspects there is much more to the story than what Cora is saying. Uncovering Cora’s past and how she came to the point of murder is where much of the mystery for this thriller comes from.
Throughout the course of the show there is quite a lot of development and attention made to Cora’s character. I don’t want to spoil the mystery of what went on with her, but throughout the series you will come to know her past and her character quite well. Harry’s character also goes through some minor character development moments too, but his story just wasn’t too interesting I found when watching the show.
The Sinner is a show with themes surrounding topics of murder, sex, religion and family and these themes are spread all throughout the episodes. The directors for the show consisted of Antonio Campos (3 episodes), Brad Anderson, Cherien Dabis, Jody Lee Lipes and Tucker Gates (2 episodes), they all chose to use a dark tone for the entirety of the series. A lot of it is actually a little gloomy rather than tense, with very few light moments to brighten it up a long the way.
In some ways you would think the story of Cora is a little sad, especially since she’s got a family. But as characters developed, I struggled to find the good in any of them. I guess the show being called “The Sinner” does bear some meaning towards this. But everyone there, even the minor characters including the detective, Cora’s sister, Cora’s husband or any of the villains all had their faults which in my view made them all bad people.
Having these so called sinners and their stories spread throughout the show, while interesting as it may be and I couldn’t wait to uncover the mystery in the end. Along the way I felt uncomfortable watching the series. They’re all bad people and none of the characters in my view are likeable at all in the end. They’re interesting though, but that’s it. Alias Grace, which was also about a murder and had a similar story, was the better show and the main character there was a maniac, yet I liked her. That just didn’t happen here at all for me.
The acting in this is quite good though. Jessica Biel delivers an impressive performance as the lead for the show, she certainly does impress. Bill Pullman was an interesting one to watch and all his detective scenes were great and he worked well with Jessica Biel in the scenes they had to together. I wish I could have loved their characters more, but I just couldn’t.
The filming locations are well chosen. There’s a sort of mansion the characters visit throughout certain episodes and it seemed like a good place for the show to be set in. The woods where Harry explores are also well chosen. Costumes for the actors are all modern outfits, nothing too interesting, mainly dull and gloomy clothing which I guess matches the show’s tone.
Overall this is an interesting thriller to watch over a weekend. There’s only 8 parts to the show and what you get with The Sinner is an interesting character driven exploration into the psychology and character of Cora. Both Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman put in some of their best work here for the show and I was impressed with them both. It’s worth checking out if you’ve got some time to spare this weekend.