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“The Sinner”



I can’t recommend USA’s limited-run series “The Sinner” enough. It’s a dark and gritty psychological/psychosexual crime drama that makes me feel like I need to take a shower after watching it. I began taping the show thinking it was going to be an interesting whodunnit, but “The Sinner” is so so much more than whodunnit. It’s a whydunnit. It’s a “what’s lurking the beneath the surface of everyone you know-“it.

Trigger warning: it’s explicit–it’s explicit in its depictions of violence, sex, PTSD, psychological abuse, and just the general misery of the human condition. About two episodes in I had a conversation with myself about whether I wanted to continue watching it because–as someone who had an occasionally miserable childhood and someone who occasionally struggles with moderate depression and anxiety–it often felt like work to get through some scenes. I’ve decided I’m going to muddle through it because it’s worth it. And because it doesn’t go down every path I assumed it was going to go down, sparing me some scenes I was dreading and also just–happily–keeping me guessing.

Are you a Jessica Biel fan? Do you think she’s pretty? Well, good news!–you’ll get lots and lots (and lots) of lingering close-ups of her finely-boned face. Well…I wasn’t a Jessica Biel fan, only because I’d never seen her act before. But–wowee wow wow–I am one now. She’s a revelation in this. It’s got to be a taxing role and my gosh she just throws herself into with admirable abandon. She is…amazing. Bill Pullman is terrific as well, being intensely queer and melancholy, like some character who just stepped out of a David Lynch film. In fact, there this is a strange, sad, suffocating darkness that so pervades this series it sometimes strongly evokes Lynch. At several points I’ve wondered if Lynch could make a series like this, if he reined in the weirdness and, well, just his general Lynchiness a bit.

Give “The Sinner” a try. It’s like a sandpaper bath for your brain.

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