Andy Serkis is obviously a gifted actor, but I’ve always had an attitude about him because of his gooey Gollum emoting, even though the blame for this (90% anyway) is almost certainly Peter Jackson‘s, and because of the generally unbridled, over-cranked Jackson association that follows him because of his Gollum and King Kong performances. But all of that is out the window in the wake of Serkis’s performance as an incarcerated, cold-blooded murderer in Tom Hooper‘s Longford, which debuts on Saturday, 2.17, on HBO.

Serkis totally nails it as Ian Brady, a notorious real-life killer known for his alliance with the despised Myra Hindley (Samantha Morton) in England. He uses the same kind of measured, ice-cold malevolence that made Anthony Hopkins and Brian Cox’s performances as Hannibal Lecter so historic. The deep, unfiltered- cigarette voice Serkis uses, the working-class accent, the cadence in his delivery — dead perfect. Longford is somewhere between decent and so-so, but well worth catching for Serkis alone.

The Longford script was written, by the way, by Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon, The Last King of Scotland, The Other Boleyn Girl). What a streak.