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Nightmares vs. Blackouts vs. Memories: How ‘Sharp Objects’ Revisits the Past

"It's curious how we can find beauty in places we wouldn’t expect. How darkness sometimes can become attractive, comforting."

Based on the novel by Gillian Flynn, HBO’s miniseries Sharp Objects stars Amy Adams as reporter Camille Preaker, who returns to her small hometown to cover the murder of a preteen girl and the disappearance of another.

Trying to put together a psychological puzzle from her past, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims a bit too closely.

Explains director Jean-Marc Vallée, “It’s curious how we can find beauty in places we wouldn’t expect. How darkness sometimes can become attractive, comforting. This is what happened to me when I read Gillian’s novel. I got sucked into Camille’s head. I was falling for this character. Never met, never seen, nor heard anyone like this before. I was fascinated by her obsession with words, the way she uses them to define herself, to heal and to harm, and her way of describing the world, her way of talking about herself, her wounds and imperfections.”

“Throughout the eight-episode event, history collides with the show’s here and now as a matter of procedure,” says Kevin Yeoman. “It’s sometimes subtle, a flicker of an edit brings past and present crashing together, but more often than not it’s made to be as disconcerting as possible: a well-framed pool of blood or the sinister smile of a boy with a gun. 

“The series has a seemingly inexhaustible supply of images you probably don’t want to look at but can’t avert your eyes from, either. It lends the grim observation of Sharp Objects‘ toxic legacies an eerie, dreamlike tenor that accentuates the squalid nature of its story and its setting, and offsets the narrative’s small-town thriller tendencies with potent, often unpleasant cultural examinations.” To read the full article, click here.

Read more: reports Kayti Burt, says “she struggled translating the deeply-internal story of Camille in the book to the screen, crediting director Vallée with communicating much of Camille’s inner turmoil in a visual manner. Vallée, who directed all eight episodes of the show, subtly articulates the haunted, often intoxicated logic of Camille’s perspective through jump cuts, dream sequences, and by playing with time.”

“Jean-Marc took what was in there and made it 10,000 times better,” said Noxon, “but that fluid [intertwining of the] past, present, and maybe even future was my experience of being a drunk. It all blends together and all the ghosts are there all the time.” To read the full article, click here.

“We’ve got to give credit to Marti,” says Vallée to Evan Romano, “who came up with this plan, beautifully blending the past and the present and wondering, sometimes, what’s what. 

“We pushed this concept even a little bit more on the set and then in the cutting room, always to accentuate and to give a sense of perspective, going into her head—what she sees is what we see, and it’s unclear whether it’s real or if it’s a fantasy, a dream, a flashback from the past.” To read the full article, click here.

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