Murder whodunit’s are as old as the movie industry, therefore the challenge for any screenwriter is to come up with something that has never been done before – a very tall order. The new 6 part HBO series “The Undoing” was created and written by David E. Kelly, arguably the most prolific television writer and producer of all time and because of this, probably the perfect person to come up with a new perspective for a murder-mystery series.
The Undoing stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant as Grace and Jonathan Fraser, who are both great in their roles as married medical professionals who become mired in infidelity when Jonathan has an affair with another married woman Elena Alves, who has a son he cured of cancer. Under the emotional circumstances of curing her son of cancer, it is understandable that Johnathan and Elena would have a powerful connection that would lead to an affair that for Elena would lead to obsession. This is a unique relationship that I have never seen portrayed before in any movie.
The remainder of this story is a winding and sometimes complex series of events where we are trying to figure out who killed Elena with a hammer. This part of the movie, where we see too many times, Elena get hit in the head with a hammer, was completely unnecessary. Even during the courtroom scenes, in the last two episodes of this 6 part series, there were way too many pictures of Elena’s unrecognizable face – was too over the top, because we have seen this horrendous picture too many times already.
The legal aspects and acting in this movie were very impressive starting with Jonathan’s lawyer, Haley Fitzgerald, played by Noma Dumezweni. Haley believes that Jonathan is guilty, but her job is to always defend her client, no matter what. This defend at all costs dilemma is made clear several times in this series, especially when the murder weapon is uncovered. I was most impressed with the end of the 5th episode where Nicole Kidman’s locks eyes with another person who has the murder weapon and she is all but convinced at that moment in time that she knows who the murderer is.
The simplicity of this story, the way it was told and the uncommon nerve wracking conclusion were all very impressive. The acting that also includes Donald Sutherland as Grace’s father is also outstanding throughout. I highly recommend The Undoing.