Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (4 stars)

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

Elijah Wood and Samuel Barnett star in a wonderfully twisted detective series

Turns out, the unthinkable has happened and in a wacky turn of events Max Landis has successfully remixed Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently novels into a funny, curious television series which stays true to the absurd spirit and humour of the aforementioned prolific author. We find Dirk (Samuel Barnett) in America, Seattle to be precise, tasked with solving a grisly murder where he claims errant bellboy Todd Brotzmann (Elijah Wood) as his very unwilling assistant.

Among a whole host of eccentric characters, played by actors who are superbly cast it is Fiona Dourif's turn as nomadic assassin Bart Curlish that proves to be most memorable. Dourif, just like her father Brad, truly inhabits the role. She's terrifying but strangely endearing as she snarls through her rotten teeth slashing her victims with a machete. Barnett as Dirk elegantly spouts long sentences that digress and zigzag while also delivering silly slapstick and continually stuffing his face with pizza. Neil Brown Jr and Richard Schiff share great chemistry as detectives Estevez and Zimmerfield who follow closely on the heels of Dirk and Brotzmann on their misadventures.

It's all very amusing but also deliciously dark. The crime scene at the centre of the case is a bloody splatter fest full of fantastic imagery and clues and some of the kills are truly gruesome. Wood plays the straight man who is actually hiding all kinds of secrets with an awkward charm lacing Brotzmann's quiet and unassuming demeanour with intriguing possibilities.

Landis has created new characters, strayed away from sticking too closely to anything we've seen in the books and moved the story to the US and it all interconnects to wildly entertaining ends. It possesses a frantic energy similar to Scott Pilgrim Vs The World or the Bill & Ted films and it's clear screenwriter and producer Landis has a genuine affection for the original source material.

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency is on Netflix from 11 Dec.

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