If there are any out there who were doubtful of Emily Blunt’s talent then watch this mini-series; she is wonderful here. Probably her best performance. That is saying a mouthful for someone who shone in Into the Woods, The Devil Wears Prada, The Young Victoria, and Your Sister’s Sister. Here she is on a different level. Partially because the material she was given is a notch above but mostly because she is a great actress. The English puts that beyond any doubt.
The English is a mini-series by Brit Hugo Blick (The Honourable Woman), who wrote and directed it. It is a Western and a rather dark one. Dark but also filled with zingy dialogue and moments of humour. It is a kind of mix of the Coen brothers and Taylor Sheridan. Bottom line is that makes it better than average.
The paths of retired Pawnee scout Eli Whipp (Chaske Spencer – The Twilight Sage: New Moon, Woman Walks Ahead) and British socialite Lady Cornelia Locke (Emily Blunt) cross in a rather unusual way. The year is 1890 and once together, against Eli’s better judgment, the two set out together with two separate goals. She wants to find the man who killed her son and exact revenge on him while Eli wants to claim some land in Nebraska that he is owed due to his military service. While travelling together, the two begin to realize that they have a shared history.
I am not really a fan of Westerns but we are living through a kind of renaissance of the genre, especially on television. With the success of Westworld and Yellowstone and its offshoots, 1883 and 1923, viewers seem to be digging people on horses, the wide plains and gunfights. This one is so good that even I was won over. Though admittedly, this is not your typical Western. More of a spaghetti Western.
Besides the incredible performance of Blunt, hers is matched by that of the stoic Spencer. Both are compelling and together they are electric. Even in their moments of silence. There is most certainly an electricity between the two.
From the first moments, you can tell that this is not going to be a basic revenge film. There is a lot more going on here. It is a story that does not go along in a straightforward manner. There is plenty of mystery along with several twists and turns.
Start watching the first of the 6 episodes and you will be pulled right in.