Escape at Dannemora (TV Miniseries) (2018)

Based on true events that occurred in 2015, this Showtime miniseries is a masterclass of slow-burn suspense. Directed by Ben Stiller, the miniseries arrives fully formed from the first episode, propelled by Stiller’s masterful grasp of atmosphere and mood. Throughout all seven episodes, Stiller also makes terrific use of contemporary pop music, accentuating the story’s themes as it goes along (watch for particularly effective use of “Chains” by Nick Jonas, and Hanni El Khatib’s “You Rascal You”). But really, none of it would matter were it not for the extraordinary performances: Paul Dano demonstrates impressive gravitas in a role he completely owns, and there’s great support from Eric Lange as Lyle and Bonnie Hunt as Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott. Among all the standout performances, however, is Patricia Arquette, who delivers career-best work as the complicated, manipulative and quasi-tragic Tilly – this is the type of performance that redefines an actor’s career, and Arquette’s go-for-broke approach to the rich material is electrifying to watch.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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