I pretty much liked it. It's not really spectacular or moving, but it has a solid and fascinating storyline (based on real facts, they assured us!) and there's enough to keep you entertained for the two episodes of each one and a half hour.
The biggest treat is Gina Gershon as Pat. Gershon is the epitome of a strong and sensuous southern woman, she's beautiful in a very mature and alluring sense, and it's great to see her getting her way with her charm and poise and self-assurance (and not to forget her sexual attraction). This helps in overcoming the flaws of the script. They choose to reveal Pat as the murderer very early in the story and this takes it from a suspenseful who-done-it to the less thrilling level of a will-she-get-away-with-it. It's only because the Pat-character is so exciting and so well acted, that it still succeeds in keeping you interested.
Then there was the feeling of repetition in the second episode: Pat starts doing her poisoning & murdering schemes once again and in very much the same way as in episode one. This probably is in line with the true events that are the basis of this series, but it didn't help to keep me on the edge of my chair, it's more like: "Again?!? Didn't I see this before ?" The part where the younger sister gets more and more suspicious and afraid of Pat on the other hand is done very well and involving. But bringing in the daughter of Pat as some sort of forced partner in crime was in my opinion superfluous, it didn't seem to serve any purpose. The fact that she was portrayed as a sullen and unattractive emo-ish girl didn't help, the contrast to her mother was just too big.
The mystery of who actually killed Tom's parents (Tom claims innocence, and it is clear that the makers want you to believe that the murder is actually somehow Pat's doing) is solved rather clumsily in the last part of the story, where Tom confesses that he shot them in self-defense. We see the revealing flash-back and it's not convincing at all: shooting his armed and threatening father in self-defense is one thing, but also planting a bullet in his unarmed and totally innocent mother is something quite different. So what do they wanted me to think, does this make him more, or actually less guilty??
And then we're left with many blank spots where Pat is concerned. There's talk of a brother of Pat who apparently committed suicide and there's all this innuendo that Pat also had something to do with that. Out of jealousy? Nothing is ever done with this anymore. Come to think of it: the whole background of Pat stays totally blank. Is she from this town? What kind of family did she grow up in? Who was the father of her daughter? Was she married before? Did she have a job? Pat just pops up at the start of the movie as some sensual force of nature, and maybe that's what they wanted it to be, but I would have liked a gradual disclosure of her past, being able to understand where her acts and deeds came from.
What I actually did like very much, was the voice-over of Pat during a big part of the movie, showing her face in extreme close-up while she tells her tale. It's not until halfway the movie that we see she's talking at a hearing in prison to get paroled for good behavior. In this voice-over she justifies her deeds in an almost chillingly defiant way, she just doesn't see anything she did as wrong.
The acting is over-all okay. As I said: Gina Gershon is absolutely wonderful and the part fits her like a glove. Ryan McPartlin (as husband Tom) is cute, he doesn't get much room to shine, but that's due to the part he plays, his character is totally out-classed by his dominant wife and McPartlin is convincing enough in his portrayal. Rachel Blanchard did a fine job as the younger sister Rachel who gradually comes to suspect her own sister but has a hard time believing it.
All in all I enjoyed myself reasonably enough and I rank it 7 out of 10 (and a 10 plus for Gina Gershon!!).
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