TV review: The Cry, BBC One
- Brian Donaldson
- 27 September 2018
Gripping four-part psychological thriller that has you guessing about everything
Just when you thought you could kick back a little after the hyper-tension of Bodyguard, the BBC just goes and cranks up your heart-rate with the jumpy, nervy and most probably traumatic four-parter The Cry. Adapted from Glasgow-based Australian writer Helen FitzGerald's 2013 novel, the action hops around between those two locales and skips between time zones as a means of building up tension within a story that barely needs any extra elevation.
Jenna Coleman plays Joanna, a young mother driven to sleep-deprived distraction by her new-born son Noah with very little in the way of a support system around her. Husband Alistair (Ewen Leslie) is too busy in his high-flying job as a political aide and in the mire of a custody battle for his teenage daughter (now back home in Oz with her mother) to notice that Joanna is edging ever closer to the brink of a breakdown. So, when the pair go on a 30-hour flight to Australia (not the best scenario for a fraught mother with a child who can't stop crying), everything comes to a head.
What that exact event is remains largely unclear even after one hour of this nerve-shredding drama, as the action pops back and forth to feature the early moments of Joanna and Alistair's relationship, the birth of their son, Joanna in therapy discussing her two selves and musing darkly on 'the worst thing that can happen to someone', a court case with Joanna in the dock, and the pair's ill-fated journey across the world.
Written by Jacquelin Perske (Little Fish), the bleak beauty of this opening episode is in how it works hard to never let its audience off the hook while continuing to keep us feverishly speculating. The BBC have clearly vowed that audiences will spend this autumn on a permanent knife-edge.
Episodes watched: One of four.
The Cry starts on BBC One, Sun 30 Sep, 9pm