In Landscapers, Olivia Colman buries her parents in their garden (and it’s awesome)

The formidable actress of The Crown and Broadchurch once again proves the extent of her talent in Landscapers. These four episodes focus on the relationship between Susan and Christopher Edwards, an ordinary English couple who committed murders 15 years earlier. An excellent series, to see on Canal+.

Susan and Christopher Edwards seem to form an ordinary couple, dreaming their lives in color, if possible in the grandeur of a movie theatre. Fans of Gary Cooper’s films, they maintain a postal correspondence with their idol, Gérard Depardieu. Based in Lille, France, these two Englishmen aspire to a normal life from their small, seedy apartment.

Until the day Christopher calls Tabitha, his mother-in-law, to ask her for some money. And admit to him in passing, casually, that Susan’s parents were buried in their garden, 15 years earlier. The couple, very united, will then have to face the police and English justice. So, premeditated crime or simple self-defense?

The series alternates color and black and white sequences // Source: Canal+ / Sky UK Ltd / HBO / Sister Pictures Limited

This slightly wacky starting point is that of the English mini-series Landscapers, available on Canal+. Inspired by a true story, these four episodes dissect the relationship between Susan and Christopher. Really sentenced to 25 years in prison for murder in 2014, these two lovers still claim their innocence today.

For lovers of the seventh art

Whether Landscapers may look at first sight like yet another series surfing on the success of true crimes, The reality is different. The four episodes of this season thus demonstrate unprecedented originality. The staging is as hallucinatory as it is inventive, alternately alternating reality with dreamlike cinematic sequences between two dialogues. Susan and Christopher’s passion for the seventh art transpires from every shot, giving Landscapers a very singular imaginary dimension.

Landscapers mixes true story and imaginary moments, notably inspired by cinema // Source: Canal+ / Sky UK Ltd / HBO / Sister Pictures Limited

The parallels with the cinema of the 1960s are evident in the use of costumes and ultra-geometric sets: everything then seems old-fashioned, even out of time. The entire series feels fake, constantly bordering on theatrics. The reconstructions of the murders, for example, take place behind the scenes, behind the scenes of the actual filming of the episodes.

Landscapers constantly weaves fiction into fiction, like a crime-and-fiction version ofInception. Black and white and color continually blend, while past and present constantly communicate. A strange bias, which will clearly not please everyone, but which denotes a rare originality.

Landscapers is carried by an iconic duo

Landscapers thus takes pleasure in losing us in the criminal story of Susan and Christopher, who try to prove their innocence when everything seems to overwhelm them. If the narration is sometimes confusing, the series always manages to catch up to us by the hand, one way or another.

It’s hard to do justice to the sweet-crazy atmosphere of this wonderful story of murders, but above all of love. Yes because Landscapers speaks above all of the boundless passion between Susan and Christopher. The series thus manages to infuse romanticism everywhere, in the middle of this sordid narrative.

Landscapers features a fabulous duo: Olivia Colman (The Crown) and David Thewlis (Harry Potter) // Source: Canal+ / Sky UK Ltd / HBO / Sister Pictures Limited

And if the mix works so well, it’s thanks to the perfect alchemy of an astonishing duo of actors: Olivia Colman and David Thewlis. The first distinguished herself as a moving investigator in Broadchurch or as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown. The second remains in everyone’s memory as the benevolent Remus Lupin in Harry Potter.

Together they make sparks. Their close-knit couple complement each other perfectly: Olivia Colman shines as a solar and lunar woman, at the height of optimism, while David Thewlis exudes more sadness, with no real taste for life. Landscapers relies entirely on their two impressive performances, which deserve a shower of awards.

Four episodes is too short

Obviously, the mini-series, the result of a collaboration between HBO and Sky Studios, is also worth it for its tasty police and judicial aspect. Infused with absurd and caustic English humor, the investigation surrounding the murders committed by Susan and Christopher is fascinating to follow. Whether Landscapers makes no mystery about the identity of the culprits, the criminal elements are still revealed bit by bit, creating the desire to know more, episode after episode.

Landscapers notably features the excellent David Thewlis (Harry Potter) // Source: Canal+ / Sky UK Ltd / HBO / Sister Pictures Limited

Four episodes seem too short to completely cover this improbable story and really understand what led Susan to kill her own parents before burying them in their garden for fifteen years, with the complicity of her husband. But the extravagant realization and the wonderful acting of the actors gladly take us on board, while at times recalling the film Fargo, the bloody odyssey of the Coen brothers. In short, if you like intriguing criminal stories and wacky English narrations, go quickly to discover this mini-series on Canal+.

The verdict

Susan and Christopher love each other madly, unconditionally. So much so that 15 years ago they decided to kill Susan’s parents, before burying them in their garden and disappearing from circulation. If this story, although true, seems improbable to you, wait to see Landscapers, available on Canal+. This mini-series in four episodes shines with its delightfully inventive staging and above all with the chemistry of its two main actors, Olivia Colman (The Crown) and David Thewlis (Harry Potter). A dazzling duo, for a series that never ceases to lose its viewer between past and present, between black and white and colors. Landscapers is a great success, not to be missed if you are a fan of English humor and Gérard Depardieu (yes, yes).

Source: Numerama editing

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