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DEBORAH ROSS: Black daffodil with Aisling Franciosi everything is so sinfully slow, sister


Black daffodil

BBC1, Sunday-Thursday

Rating:

The snake

BBC1, Friday

Rating:

Black daffodil is based on the novel by Rumer Godden and was filmed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger with Deborah Kerr in 1947, but what it said so successfully in less than two hours couldn't do it in three.

That was soooooooo slooooooooow. It's a tale about sexuality in the monastery and at different times you wanted to scream: Can we cancel sexuality now? Bring everything out openly? And call it a day?

Here Gemma Arterton follows in Kerr's footsteps as Sister Clodagh, who was sent with other nuns in 1934 to set up a convent school in an almost deserted old palace high on the mountainside in a remote Himalayan outpost.

The main job of Mr. Dean is to stir the loins of the sorority. Not just Sister Clodagh, but Sister Ruth (Aisling Franciosi, above), who had mentally skated on thin ice since the start

The main job of Mr. Dean is to stir the loins of the sorority. Not just Sister Clodagh, but Sister Ruth (Aisling Franciosi, above), who had mentally skated on thin ice since the start

Clodagh is sent there by mother Dorothea (the glorious Diana Rigg in her penultimate role), and it's not a hospitable place. It is not a place where the hills are alive with music, for example.

It's not a place that someone prefers to have brown paper packages tied together with string. It's not that kind of place and they're not that kind of nuns and that's not that kind of story.

Instead, the palace is perched on a ledge, where the wind is strong and windows rattle and doors slam, and the bell tower has no railings – lots of edges that can literally and metaphorically fall off – and with The Cello of Dread, as I call it, it plays all the time on the soundtrack.

An atmosphere should build up slowly. But that's fear from the start – the first scene shows a storm and a lightning strike – and then it's three hours of fear in three nights.

And if there is constant fear, then you cannot have tension. It's just the same.

Back to the action. Or what was of it. When Clodagh arrives, she has to deal with the handsome male Mr. Dean (Alessandro Nivola), who works for the local general.

The general donated the palace and that's where his father kept his concubines (hence the erotic murals that need to be covered up quickly) and his sister came to a bad end 20 years ago.

(As seen in the prologue. And then over and over again, pretty unnecessary.)

Sister Clodagh does not want to seek help from Mr. Dean – her sin is pride – but must if, for example, she ever wants to have "the toilet fixed." I am not given to prayer myself, but prayed that she would ask him to put railings on the bell tower and a handrail on these steps, but no joy.

In any case, his main task is to stir the loins of the sisterhood. Not only Clodagh, but also sister Ruth (Aisling Franciosi), who had mentally skated on thin ice since the start.

However, since there is no sexual chemistry between him and them – no squeaks, no whispers – this love triangle has never been particularly convincing.

Clodagh is given a backstory of fleeting images of a love affair that went wrong before accepting sacred orders, while Sister Ruth goes insane with (essentially) no explanation.

So it seemed unbalanced. While the windows kept rattling and doors kept knocking, the other sisters – Sister Briony (Rosie Cavaliero), Sister Blanche (Patsy Ferran), Sister Philippa (Karen Bryson) – were barely sketched.

And because the tempo was off, everything was pretty repetitive. So much so that I was overjoyed when Gina McKee appeared on the last episode (as sister Adela). A new nun! Last but not least!

So it was all under-challenged and maybe quite pointless – what does it say that the film doesn't? – but it also had its virtues. The services were consistently good.

Arterton skillfully portrayed a woman who realizes that whatever she thought was right was wrong, while Sister Ruth's growing madness was well handled by Franciosi.

That was also breathtaking to watch. Unlike the film that was shot in Pinewood, this one was partially shot in Nepal and the cinematography was great. Still, I won't be booking a vacation in this old palace anytime soon. And I want railings. Many of them.

I survived the first episode of The snake but couldn't see anyone wanting to see the next seven. (Seven!) It is based on the real-life serial killer Charles Sobhraj – played here by Tahar Rahim – who murdered backpackers on the hippie trail across Asia in the mid-1970s and supported by his girlfriend (Jenna Coleman) & # 39 ;.

It's based on the real-life serial killer Charles Sobhraj, who, with the help of his girlfriend (Jenna Coleman, above), murdered backpackers who were on the hippie trail.

It's based on the real-life serial killer Charles Sobhraj, who, with the help of his girlfriend (Jenna Coleman, above), murdered backpackers who were on the hippie trail.

With its brown and orange haze and the inclusion of vintage footage, it's visually spot-on and really brilliantly captures that era, which is why it earned its two stars.

But it was also confusing – hopping back and forth so much that I often couldn't remember if we were back and forth – and serially uncomfortable.

When it came to seeing a young woman cheated, drugged, pulled out of a car, thrown into the sea, and drowned, I couldn't figure out what it was. There is no Whodunnit element even with a young Dutch diplomat on his tail and the thought of sitting through another seven hours … no. I can not.

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