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Homeentertainment'Rain Dogs' review: HBO's UK series rewards those who brave desolation

'Rain Dogs' review: HBO's UK series rewards those who brave desolation

New half-hour episode Rain with a deceptively simple plot, somewhat ambiguous tone and a pack of star dogs better known on the other side of the pond Might be a tough sell to HBO.

Let me try: Rain Dogs is The Last of Us used poverty instead of mushroom zombies. May I add that it’s also a good economy for the ironic opulence of The White Lotus and Succession Balance, but no. Let’s take The Last of Us as my main point of comparison. Sure, it’ll disappoint a few [millions] of video game fans, but it might be worth it if it draws a wider audience to a worthwhile but undeniably tough little show.

Rain Dog

Bottom line Messy, sad, funny and very human.

On a more practical level, series creator Cash Carraway is essentially giving The Object of My Affection – You may remember the Stephen McCauley novel or the Jennifer Aniston/Paul Rudd movie – the strychnine reboot.

Daisy May Cooper, headline America’s Big Breakout This Spring Am I being unreasonable? Comes to Hulu in April as Costello, an aspiring writer struggling to make money at a stand at a London diorama show. Really struggling. In fact, the series begins with Costello and daughter Iris (Fleur Tashjian), approaching her 10 birthday, being kicked out of their dirty Dirty Apartments, kicks off an eight-episode journey to domestic stability. Tom Waits’ song of the same name does not appear in the series, but both titles conjure up similar images of displacement and shelter, both literal and emotional.

Costello, sober for three-months but always shaky, has a very unusual support system of people who help her, but not much more. The group includes Gloria (Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo), who works at her father’s funeral home and is prone to waking up in random phone booths, wearing the pranks of the previous night, and Lenny (Adrian Edmondson). , a sick artist whose main representational subject is the vagina.

The X-factor in Costello and Iris’ lives is Selby (Jack Farthing), about to be released after a year in prison for a violent assault. Selby is rich, gay, and utterly self-destructive, and he’s equally utterly cancerous when it comes to his best friend, Costello. At the same time, he’s a very devoted father figure to Iris, willing to do anything to help her, even if his meddling always leads to disaster.

Yeah, I know descriptions don’t necessarily make that Last of Us feel, do they? But think of Rain Dogs as an almost (sometimes totally) bum-esque mother-daughter journey through England. Iris isn’t humanity’s only hope, but she’s the force that keeps Costello (and Selby) going. But Costello and Iris aren’t the only ones struggling in the land, and in each episode they find a different place to rest and encounter different extremes and threats – from sexual predators to members of Britain’s safety net. Imperfection, to an inevitable cessation that might seem utopian, but instead, could take the soul out of everyone. It’s all set against the backdrop of modern London, where full-time work doesn’t guarantee affordable housing and the best paying opportunities – the rewards and desperation of sex work play a big role here as it does in AMC’s crime Made Neglected Mood — And With It Comes Opportunity Unfair shame.

It’s the premise and structure that has all eight episodes of writer Callaway getting caught up in the chaos of her main characters who, from the outside, seem like they’re both addicts Gentlemen and deviants, even from within, don’t always fit the village that raised this child. Costello’s decision-making cycle is repetitive, but Carraway carefully locates the slippery slope of poverty and false calls within the British working-class tradition, from Dickensian workhouses to Loachian factory towns. The show’s stance—and Costello’s oft-cited encyclopedic stance of pop culture lore—is that the film’s impoverished aesthetic leans toward gritty realism, disallowing the fantasies and fantasies that heroes from other tax brackets can achieve. A symbolic leap. experience. is this real? Having seen a lot of Roseanne and Shameless and a lot of British blue collar shows, I’m not so sure. But the illusion of self-importance is part of Costello’s character.

Cooper has a touch of vintage Roseanne energy in her performance, a fulcrum of unapologetic brashness that sets the tone. She’s happy to be lewd and expansive when the show’s tone calls for it, when the show needs Costolo to internalize her torment, and Cooper points that out. In those extremes, she complements Farthing, who makes Selby ugly and damaged, never betraying him for the audience’s sympathy. Of course, sometimes you need the audience’s sympathy, and newcomer Tashjian brilliantly straddles that sensible but not so sensible line, earning Iris sympathy rather than mercy. Some viewers will be uncomfortable with all the questionable parenting, though the show is careful to present Iris as a more moral hazard than any physical one. When Costello and Selby are at their worst, Iris takes refuge off-screen. You may still prefer to call Child Protective Services.

With the exception of Adékoluẹjo and Edmondson, who are very funny on the show but don’t always get the “edy” part of “dramedy,” the series’ hilarious structure provides a source of inspiration for many. Make room for memorable one-offs or twos. These include a down-to-earth Carl Pilkington as a debt collector, and a scene-stealing Phoebe Thomas as one of the residents at a battered women’s shelter. Above all is the ever-popular Anna Chancellor, all rich Venom as Selby’s socialite mother.

Rain Dogs isn’t always easy to hug. It can be bleak, and despite Costello’s own protests, its aesthetic can lean toward a familiar social realism. But Carraway keeps the show moving from episode to episode, and in its sloppy but soulful treatment of the ways a patchwork community can become a family, there’s hope here. At least until mushroom zombies finally show up.




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