Review: The Stranger

Arnojya Shree reviews Netflix's latest mystery The Stranger and explains whether it's a hit or miss for the streaming platform

Arnojya Shree
17th February 2020
Credit; IMDb, Netflix
On 30th January, Netflix launched its new mystery-thriller miniseries called The Stranger which is directed by Daniel O’Hara and written by Danny Brocklehurst. The show is based upon a novel of the same title by Harlan Coben. In one of the episodes, the show mentions One Direction (the former British Boy Band) but does not follow the concept. 

The first episode starts with Adam Price, who is approached by a stranger in a bar. This stranger tells him a life-altering secret which has a domino effect on his marriage, his family and his friendships. Simultaneously, the episode follows through with a group of teenagers dancing around a fire under a full moon and a naked boy running through the woods. 

The show reveals that this stranger is central to the chaos erupting in the lives of various other characters

However, slowly the show reveals that this stranger is central to the chaos erupting in the lives of various other characters, with all of their secrets now entangled with each other. There is more to the motive of blackmailing these people for a sum of money in exchange for keeping the secret intact, and it is personal. But if only it all were that simple! 

The show has a good casting with Richard Armitage (The Hobbit, Berlin Station) in the role of Adam Price, who terrifically ties the narrative together in his challenging journey to keep his family safe. Shaun Dooley (The Witcher, Eden Lake) plays the Price family’s neighbour Doug Tripp, who comes and goes in the episodes, but his place in the narrative is not as breezy as his appearance. Siobhan Finneran (Downton Abbey, Happy Valley) does justice to the emotionally and professionally taxing character of Detective Griffin, who is as strong as one could imagine a woman to be.

Credit; IMDb, Netflix

Mystery-thriller genre is a rather tricky one because all of the details have to be almost ‘exact’. The slightest bits of content and curation can make it or break it. The show deals with too many plot points at once and introduces them well, so the mystery part of it keeps its charm. However, it fails to maintain the thrill by taking up too much on its plate. All of the mini narratives make it hard to keep up and therefore, leads to a loss in the interest of the show. 

By the end however, the show brings together all of the mini plots and ties them together to one or rather two people. With such a great casting, the show had a brilliant scope of utilizing the story better in terms of screenplay. However, not every plot justifies its place in the narrative whole of the show and could have been avoided to make space to discuss less with more clarity. 

Credit; Netflix trailers, YouTube
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