Spoilers just couldn’t handle the cringe.
Ever watch a show that has this really cool and smart premise for one storyline and the most contrived plot for another? To make it just a lot more difficult, the contrived plot is particularly full of cringe. We’ll get into it because I feel like I had to hate-watch half of the show just to get to the point. There’s no particular plot twist, I just wanted to see why would the writing pull these two threads together. There’s a reason given, but whether this justifies watching the series is a big stretch.
Inside Man (2022) was created by Paul McGuigan and written by Steven Moffat. Harry Watling (David Tennant) is your friendly neighborhood Vicar. He’s got a loving family composed of wife Mary (Lyndsey Marshal) and son Ben (Louis Olivier). After accepting to hide dubious adult material from a shady member of his congregation, Harry returns home and carelessly leaves the cursed usb just lying around. This results in Ben’s tutor Janice (Dolly Wells) inserting it into her laptop and finding it contains child porn. In a convoluted process that I can only rate as plain stupid, Janice ends up believing it belongs to Ben while Harry tries to blame himself to save Ben from any implications. As Janice tries to leave the tension escalates ridiculously (ok I hate to add so many adverbs but the entire thing is over the top) and Harry ends up physically tackling her and shoving her in the cellar.
Honestly at this point it felt like the movie was making a case for justifying kidnapping not to mention accidentally owning illegal porn. Casting Tennant here felt like a mistake, almost painting the entire setup of the initial conflict as a rather dark comedy. It’s not. The contrived first act is supposed to be serious and seems we’re supposed to side with the Vicar and his family. Harry himself is so eager to self-sacrifice for Ben that he downloads even more illegal material trying to incriminated himself further. On the other hand, Janice is painted in such a negative light it feels like the movie is making an antagonist out of the victim.
The reason I kept watching is Jefferson Grieff (Stanley Tucci), a prisoner in death row that is a deductive genius. He’s so much respected by everyone around him the warden himself wants to try to stop his execution. Grieff is convicted of killing his wife. Even so, he seems to command respect. This is made believable by Stanley Tucci’s performance. This storyline connects with our cringier one via journalist Beth Davenport (Lydia West) who met Janice in a chance encounter and suspects something has happened to her. This storyline was rather enjoyable almost to the point that I was willing to put up with the stupid antics of Harry and his family taking every wrong decision and making it worse. Almost.
Not recommended. I’ve gone back on forth on this but overall it’s a negative total for me. We’re literally having to put up with a convoluted storyline full of irrational decisions and one where we have a smart antagonist being Sherlock Holmes and Hannibal Lecter in one. Tucci’s performance is great but any potential seems to be stifled with the ludicrous scenario where Tennant plays one of the strangest and cringiest roles if not the most stupid. Otherwise please find something smarter. Dubious show to watch so I’d say skip it.
That will do for now.