‘Stay Near’ Review: Netflix’s Harlan Coben Series Wastes Cush Jumbo

There’s a lot of nonsense to navigate in this mediocre suspense thriller, despite its decorated cast.

Rooted in the noir tradition, the suspense thriller of the “your past is catching up with you” genre has been put to good use. So how does one tailor it in a way that feels both new and familiar, so as not to alienate an increasingly impatient audience? Including the challenge for any new entry into space and one challenge NetflixLatest Harlan Coben cooperation, “Nearby, ”Eventually flopped, despite a decorated cast led by Cush Jumbo and James Nesbitt, even if their performance is the best in the series.

In “Stay Close”, Jumbo plays Megan, a suburban mother of three whose previous life was a stripper named Cassie, along with the lives of people she thought she had left in the past, returned to haunt her, threatening to destroy the perfect reality she was creating for herself. Brief History: Once a famous dancer, one of Cassie’s (Stewart Green, played by Rod Hunt) clients is dangerously obsessed with her, an obsession that culminates when she begins dating an aspiring photographer named Ray (Richard Armitage). Green mysteriously dies, and Cassie disappears.

But is Green really dead? And if it was him, would Cassie (or Ray) kill him? The answers to the questions that haunt almost every episode have finally come. Mentioned but never seen or heard throughout, Green can also be “The One Who Will Not Be Named” who is of great spirit. “He’s back,” the series keeps telling us, and he’s looking for Cassie. Once a victim of Green’s violence, traumatized, she skips town; although, as the geography of the Blackpool series is not fully defined, it is unclear whether she simply changed her name and moved a few streets, or to a county, jurisdiction, city or even is another country. It’s an unfortunate oversight, one that weighs heavily on any understanding of the series’ stakes.

Cassie’s escape plan is hasty, meaning she’ll be ghosting everyone she knows, including the love of her life Ray, and Lorraine (Sarah Parish), a coworker and friend soul mate.

17 years later, Cassie lives as Megan, a mother of three engaged to Dave (Daniel Francis), a burly man with a secret of his own; Ray is a messy, slum-dweller working as a paparazzi for hire; and Lorraine had cancer, with only a few years to live.

Quickly introduced as tough Detective Broome (Nesbitt) and his partner Cartwright (Jo Joyner), an ex-couple are currently investigating a string of missing men cases, including Green. . (By the way, Broome also happens to be caught up in a relationship with Lorraine – a relationship that becomes pivotal to the main investigation.)

There’s Harry (Eddie Izzard), Megan’s shady drug partner, and possibly her legal advisor; Kayleigh (Bethany Antonia), Megan’s oldest child, whose curiosity inevitably puts her in danger; Del Flynn (Ross Boatman), a father determined to search for his missing son while he takes his comatose wife to the hospital; Barbie and Ken (Poppy Gilbert and Hyoie O’Grady), a pair of bounty hunters hired by Flynn, whose brutal method – amid songs and abrupt dance routines – places them in a complete series of films. completely different; and Goldberg (Jack Shalloo), a senior that Broome and Cartwright report, also has a secret of his own regarding the cases his detectives are working to solve.

A lot is definitely going. Contrary to what seems like popular belief, however, unnecessarily complicated, intertwined subplots are fueled by flashbacks, MacGuffins, dei ex machinis, and misdeeds. of countless characters, not translated into intrigue or suspense.

There’s more tension in Alfred Hitchcock’s three-hand one-place game “Rope” (1948), or Roman Polanski’s adaptation of Ariel Dorfman’s play “Death and the Maiden” (1994), than there is in “Stay” Close” was able to squeeze out its energy and dangle the theme, strewn across an eight-episode season.

It’s not set in a single location, but a club called Vipers is at the heart of the main plot. Given the type of male clientele that the establishment typically attracts, it’s such a crude name that any initial expectations for a clever, complex, and distinct story, style, or structure would quickly dissipate. disappeared as soon as Cassie escaped. And passing the season became a slogan.

The investigation is ongoing into the whereabouts of several missing men in lieu of “Stay Close,” especially as bodies begin to pile up, including that of rapist Carlton Flynn. , esteemed father Guy Tatum and others, were all last seen during the local Carnival (“an easy night to make someone disappear”) in consecutive years. This last perception by Detectives Broome and Cartwright suggests a pattern. Maybe it was the work of a serial killer, they assumed.

One suspect after another was alibi, with the exception of Ray, who had left enough traces to make himself very difficult to defend. But is he the killer? Who knows. Or maybe the question to ask is whether there is a problem. The tonal changes are hard to hear like questions about whether to take the movie seriously. Even so, its slick, conspicuous score is always there to decide how the viewer must feel.

There is a commentary effort on defamation of sex workers, gender-based violence against women and girls, and vigilance for justice, all of which could benefit from a rewrite. the script. But, in the end, “Stay Close” sticks to every cliché that comes from a fabricated story about a protagonist’s past that comes back to haunt them, disrupting a newly created idyllic life; Just when Cassie thought she was out, they pulled her in again!

It’s the kind of series made for fighting, jumping from person to person like a sleigh driver without the agility and lyricism. And while it’s atmospheric, it’s simply not engaging enough to be addictive. But fans of Harlan Coben’s previous Netflix collaborations should be comfortable with this one.

In August 2018, the author signed a 5-year deal with Netflix to bring 14 of his novels to streamers as series, and “Stay Close” follows other Netflix originals created by Coben. as “Safe” (2018) and in 2020, “The Stranger,” “The Woods” and “The Innocent” – each offering a breath of fresh air that no longer has content. “Staying close” doesn’t try to be anything different, and it’s also forgettable.

There’s some sense of satisfaction stemming from the last two episodes as it solves many of its mysteries, even if it’s self-congratulatory for making such a deep dive into the series. But it took an arduous road to get there, and by the time the gift was fully opened, in a lengthy, heavy confession, it was surprising, if not repulsive, simply silly. It’s the kind of tabloid food that Lifetime Network shows are made of, with a Netflix imprint.

D rank +

Netflix premieres all eight episodes of “Stay Close” on Friday, December 31.

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https://www.indiewire.com/2021/12/stay-close-review-netflix-harlan-coben-1234688186/ ‘Stay Near’ Review: Netflix’s Harlan Coben Series Wastes Cush Jumbo

Aila Slisco

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