Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review: The Leftovers

HBO's The Leftovers aired three episodes so far for this summer's season.  The show is about a town's reaction to a supernatural tragedy.  This is nothing like Under the Dome, a huge disappointment for me because I really liked the book and the show strays far from the original story line.  
The Leftovers refers to the people who are left over after 1% of the world disappeared into thin air.  No, this is not The Left Behind series.  The story's timeline happens three years after the tragedy, but flashes back to give us the characters' back stories.  
The first episode sets up the scenario.  A three year memorial takes place in the town square.  Those who lost loved ones are sort of honored.  A riot breaks out between the town's people and this other group who dress in white, chain smoke cigarettes, and refuse to talk.  No one gets hurt during the riot, but it shows how people are handling the tragedy in different ways.  

The chain-smoking group (as I like to call them) live together, acting more like a religious group or cult.  They refuse to talk because they don't want to waste their breathe on words.  So far, this is not fully explained, but it's really interesting.  This group also likes to recruit its members by using psychological harassment.  For instance, they stalk the people they want as members.  This is also not fully explained.  Liv Tyler's character has these people in white following her everywhere.  She finally gives in and leaves her regular life and fiancee.
There is another faction that has a Messiah figure.  This group hides out because they are wanted by the FBI.  They use violence when necessary.  The group consists of young people with weapons and connections with high-ranking politicians.  Again, this is not fully explained, but it's very interesting.
Don't waste your breath

Justin Theroux, the town's sheriff, is one of the lead characters.  His wife left him to join the chain-smoking cult.  He has a son who travels with the Messiah and a daughter who lives with him and is still in high school.  She runs with a fast crowd.  He replaced his dad as town sheriff because his dad went crazy.  
The dogs in the town have turned into rabid beasts.  Justin Theroux's character finds a man who hunts the pack of dogs down and then shoots them.  Theroux starts shooting at the dogs as well. Most of his colleagues and the mayor think he is going crazy like his dad.  They don't believe the other man who shoots dogs even exists. 
Last episode was all about the town's reverend.  This is my favorite episode out of the three.  We start to learn that some of the people who disappeared in thin air were not the kind of people that God would take.  Thus, the disappearance is not the result of the Rapture.  However, there are religious undercurrents throughout the series.  In fact, the beginning of the show opens up with modern day people floating up to the heavens resembling a Raphael painting, reminding me of all the old religious paintings you see at an art museum.
My review:  The acting of this show is more than convincing, it's brilliant.  There are no big stars in the show, but plenty of familiar faces.  The special effects are also terrific, although there hasn't been too many of them.  The effects are usually part of a character's dream.  The writing is amazing.  I can't even begin to guess where the plot is going.  The bizarre characters somehow work with the plot and the whole thing is actually realistic.  I am especially impressed with the chain-smoking group.  I also wanted to comment on the show's score. It's so sad and beautiful, like a modern day Chopin composition.  I look forward to the next episode and am an instant fan.  5 Stars.  What do you think of the show?  Leave a comment.

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