Steven Zallian and Richard Price‘s The Night Of is good — interesting, well written, attention-holding — but Zallian and Price are in no hurry. The Night Of is mostly a grim procedural. The main order of business isn’t about revealing who butchered the pretty girl as much what it feels like to be accused and powerless in the maze of New York’s criminal justice system — an apparently innocent guy (Riz Ahmed) arrested for murder, booked, grilled, counselled, kept in cells, moved to Riker’s Island, etc.
I say this having only seen episodes #1 and #2 (The Beach, Subtle Beast). I’ll need to catch episode #3 (A Dark Crate) on HBO Now before episode #4 (“The Art of War’) tomorrow night. The adaptation of Criminal Justice, an eight-year-old British miniseries, began on 6.24 via HBO on-demand.
It reminds me a bit of Alfred Hitchcock‘s The Wrong Man. That 1956 movie was all about slow procedure and acute frustration by way of mistaken identity. It runs 105 minutes but feels like two hours plus. After Henry Fonda is arrested at the 18-minute mark nothing happens until ten or twelve minutes before the end, when the real thief — a Fonda look-like — is caught.
The Night Of offers no hints, no tells, no sense of things developing. Procedure and atmosphere, procedure and atmosphere. So far it’s been more focused upon John Turturro‘s foot eczema (i.e., dermatitis) than the murder case. I’ve been watching and waiting and asking myself, “When is something gonna happen here?”
I say this having only seen episodes #1 and #2 (The Beach, Subtle Beast). I’ll need to catch episode #3 (A Dark Crate) before tomorrow night’s finale (The Art of War). The eight-hour adaptation of Criminal Justice, an eight-year-old British miniseries, began on 6.24 via HBO on-demand.