What is the difference between death and life? Are the living truly alive and are the dead really gone?
Sharp Objects, a HBO series based on the novel by Gillian Flynn, challenges the notion of trauma in fundamental existence. Pain is the only sensation that dictates all of the core characters in the pilot episode; it represents a significant part of their lives, so dark that scars are etched within and out, with happiness only an illusion, and alcohol as reprieve.
Camille Preaker (Amy Adams), our protagonist, is an independent reporter for a city newspaper but she’s hardly a femme fatale. Camille takes over the mantle of the common male anti-hero who chain smokes and prefers alcohol as her beverage. She listens to music to get by and she sees the next day as far as her next suffering.
The episode opens up with beautiful imagery that is instantaneously recognisable as a distant memory that purges with trauma. We are introduced to Camille who seems to be nonchalant and trying to live with her past.
Perhaps like any other day, Camille reports to work at the St. Louis Chronicle, and while she prefers just to get by, Frank Curry (Miguel Sandoval), the editor-in-chief, assigns her back to her rural home town of Wind Gap to cover a story of 2 missing girls; one who was found dead and another presumably murdered. Frank is adamant that Camille takes up the story, however, he did indicate that it’s a choice more than an order.
This starts Camille’s Jungian journey, where the flawed and distraught character makes a sacrifice to take a trip which she believes to be worthwhile. Camille’s choice to undertake this case becomes an unconscious obsession that she would embark on to slay her psychological demons.
While on the case, Camille returns home to face her enigmatic Mother, Adora Crellin (Patricia Clarkson), who’s inhospitable to her daughter’s presence. It is here that Camille steps into the very home that houses her fears; a home where warmth seemed superficial, and sustained by preservation of its horrid past. The distant relationship between Camille and her mother is marred by the death of Marian, a loving sibling and daughter. Time will tell if Marian would be a thread that ties Camille and Adora back together or be the rope that suffocates slowly.
The pilot episode launches the audiences right into the thick of Sharp Objects but also preludes Camille’s parallel narrative of personal trauma and crime investigation that would progress congruently.
With HBO helming the series, Sharp Objects is in good company with familiar psychological themes that are treated masterfully in the acclaimed True Detective. This is not a series to be missed.