‘The Staircase’ on HBO Max Discovers Did a Rogue Owl Kill Kathleen – or Was It Her Secret Husband?

13 parts of Jean-Xavier de Lestrade Stair is one of the foundational texts of the true-crime genre and is the definitive examination of the case of Michael Peterson, who was accused (and ultimately convicted) of murdering his wife Kathleen in 2001. HBO Max’s eight-episode run of Peterson’s story (May 5), so it seems completely unnecessary – which is why its excellence is so surprising and satisfying.

Led by writer/director Antonio Campos (After school, Devil all the time), this gripping true-event novel walks the same ambiguous boundaries as its predecessor, all the while integrating de Lestrade’s non-fiction into its main action. An adaptation that both complements and enhances its source material, which is a portrait of the unknowability of truth and the essence of justice, as well as a commentary on the power of the media. to reveal and seduce.

And yes, it does imply that an owl could have done it.

For those unfamiliar with Stair, that last sentence will surely confuse you. Campos, however, was adept at Peterson’s ordeal, and that includes the now-famous theory that Kathleen – who was found dead downstairs, with multiple lacerations to her head but no skull fracture or brain hemorrhage. indicates a brute force attack – possibly fatal after being attacked by an owl in the barn. That theory has been intrigued by many over the years, and it (as well as the idea that the bats in the Petersons’ attic might cause a similar scenario) are tantalizingly hinted at throughout the first five episodes. first of the Campos series, even as the director focused on the main nuts and bolts of his bulkhead whodunit.

Stair concerns Michael (Colin Firth), a former author and present-day Marine and Press columnist, whose previous mayoral campaign failed due to face-to-face lies about winning. Purple Heart in Vietnam. His wife, Kathleen (Toni Collette) is a successful corporate executive who relieves stress at work with wine and champagne. Together, they have a blended family that includes Michael’s sons Clayton (Dane DeHaan) and Todd (Patrick Schwarzenegger), his adopted daughters Margaret (Sophie Turner) and Martha (Odessa Young), and children Kathleen Caitlin (Olivia DeJonge) — an ordinary Brady Bunch who lives happily together in Durham, North Carolina. However, on December 9, 2001, Kathleen left Michael alone at their backyard pool (after a quiet evening together), and – according to Michael – he later found her injured. and bleeding at the bottom of their stairs, barely breathing. Two 911 calls followed, but to no avail.

Campos’ Stair opens with that fateful tragedy, and then continues to deal with its aftermath, in which Michael becomes the immediate prime suspect of district attorney Jim Hardin (Cullen Moss) and assistant DA Freda Black (Parker). Posey); brother Bill (Tim Guinee) advocates; and Michael hire identified David Rudolf (Michael Stuhlbarg) as his attorney. He also grants access to his home and life to French documentarian Jean-Xavier (Vincent Vermignon), who is searching for a case that will allow him to investigate the US criminal justice system from both sides — a mission, as in real life, is compromised by Hardin’s reluctance to continue participating in the documentary research effort. There was also the uncomfortable issue of Michael’s innocence or guilt, which, given the inexplicable and contradictory evidence, remained a mystery to all involved, and soon split the family. Peterson clan in two, with Caitlin abandoning her father’s side in favor of Kathleen’s sisters Candace (Rosemarie DeWitt) and Lori (Maria Dizzia).

Michael’s story is rife with bombshell horrors, not least of which is that he is living a secret hermaphroditic life (which has been defamed in court) and that, 20 years before Kathleen’s death, he adopted Margaret and Martha by their mother — a friend of his and his first wife Patty (Trini Alvarado) —died at the bottom of the stairs! Apparently, Campos’ series further complicates matters by touching on the relationship, after his trust, that flourishes between Michael and de Lestrade’s editor Sophie Brunet (Juliette Binoche). The intersection of media and violence is reminiscent of former Campos Christine, Their affair raises other provocative questions: is de Lestrade’s Michael scene (and this series’) capable of understanding the truth, or is it simply a manipulative and untrustworthy illusion? trust it? And so de Lestrade’s Stair an objective attempt to decipher what happened, or a misleading attempt by Sophie designed to whitewash him?

“Michael’s story is full of horrific explosions, not least of which… 20 years before Kathleen’s death, he adopted Margaret and Martha after their mother – a friend of his and the First wife Patty (Trini Alvarado) – bottom start of a staircase!”

As with de Lestrade’s original, Stair not knowing who or what was responsible for Kathleen’s death, and Campos navigates the details of his troubling case with deftness, his smooth camera conveys subtlety and evocative Notably, his seamless past transitions are gracefully executed, and his scripts are replete with detail but largely devoid of explanation. His cast is evenly brilliant, led by Firth as Michael, who proves a compelling mix of sincerity and sham, arrogance and anxiety. Firth makes Michael attractive, if not particularly likable; he was selfish, complacent, and deceitful enough to kill Kathleen, but serious and stubborn enough to fall victim to unfathomable circumstances. It was a performance of the pound that was at once straight and clear, and it fixed the course throughout its many twists and turns.

There is an abundance to Stair that’s partly a result of Michael’s multifaceted and tortuous adventures — before and after the experimentation — and partly a result of Campos’ expert approach, which incorporates virtually every important aspect of the sentence. this story, evokes fear, ambiguity, and amazement through meticulous long-term follow-up footage, and clearly outlines all their principles and hopeless dynamics. These include, but are not limited to, the bitter resentment between Clayton and Todd, the confusion and fear that befell Martha (who, like Michael, is living a secret life), disgust disgust of the South to Black, and marital strain. surrounds Michael and Kathleen, is here described by Colette in flashbacks as both a complex woman struggling with personal and professional insecurities, and a mysterious person who has met her fate for reasons that cannot be answered. In the end, she is the ghost in this true crime machine, and her haunting presence underscores the fact that the real protagonist of this wonderful and important person Stair not any member of the Peterson family but rather, the mystery itself.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-staircase-on-hbo-max-explores-whether-a-rogue-owl-killed-kathleen-or-was-it-her-secretive-husband?source=articles&via=rss ‘The Staircase’ on HBO Max Discovers Did a Rogue Owl Kill Kathleen – or Was It Her Secret Husband?


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: hung@interreviewed.com.

Related Articles

Back to top button