Lola and Chelsea know nothing of each other, only that they wait for the bus everyday at the same time. This all changes when the two women intervene in a fatal carjacking and are subsequently thrust into a chase from authorities across Australia with a vehicle filled with cash. The strangers must rely on each other and their instincts while they are on the run.
Georges Polti, in his classic treatise from the 19th century, claimed that there were only 36 dramatic situations and all stories are either based on one of those or a combination of few. In crime genre on TV most plots have become a mélange of well-used ingredients. Only through nuanced acting, competent direction, editing and camera-work the repetition can be tolerated and the show becomes watchable despite its lack of originality.
Two episodes into Wanted if you get the feeling of I've-seen-this-before-but-not-really, you're not alone. Wanted is so far a dive into a very familiar pool, yet I don't mind looking at the third offering and so on unless it runs out of breath in later episodes. The story is developing in the familiar unbelievably predictable and predictably unbelievable fashion, but it moves fast. So far, it is an "odd couple on the run" story with "bent cops" and "the devil incarnate hit-man" on their tail. There is also a hint of '24' style development with the baddies exposing themselves gradually in a stratified structure (how else would they sustain the chase for 12 eps?) No matter. It has Rebecca Gibney, maturing gracefully both as a woman and as an actor, and she is a joy to watch. We may have met her character, Lola, before on paper and on screen (attractive older woman with a compromised past and a big heart made bitter and cynical by time and fate), but she inhabits the character with such conviction that you can tell her inner struggles from the minute expressions of her face. Geraldine Hakewille, an actor I have never encountered before, is less subtle, but she manages to put some shade into her stock character (the younger, neurotic, less prim and proper than she seems foil/buddy to the older woman).
The rest of the cast is equally capable in their stock roles. Notable also is Nicholas Bell who has the type of face that can appear avuncular or threatening simply by looking at the camera. I am not quite sure about Mirko Grillini as the dead-eyed-hit-man. He might have watched one Hollywood Mafia story too many.
Direction, sets, locales, camera-work and editing are near faultless. Wanted is unlikely to become a classic of the genre but it is watchable and it will serve as an audition piece for Australian talent yet to be swallowed by Hollywood.
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