Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cine noir hits a new level, February 5, 2012
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This review is from: Damages: Season 1 (DVD)
I'd encourage a reading of some of the other reviews if you want more details about the plot (hey, it's a mystery series, you sholdn't really get the plot details first!!) Bottom line is that this is a superb series, well worth watching. You will need to watch it, too - very little is said or done that doesn't tie back into the plot. It takes the concept of "noir" to a whole new level of darkness: this series is not about finding out whether/how the good guys win because there are no good guys. Even the protagonist, Ellen Parsons (played by Rose Byrne), is presented with and declines several opportunities to recover a normal life and decides to stick with the program: at first for the money and prestige, later out of hubris thinking that she is the only one who can save the case for the people she thinks are the good guys, and eventually out of sheer self-protection and/or seeking revenge.

If you are feeling queasy or otherwise have issues with depictions of violent death, this is not a good series for you. You'll find that out about 23 seconds into the first series, and the grisly death that is the centerpiece of the plot is replayed (adding in details that the viewer has by then been exposed to) at least once in each series; and in most episodes at least one of the characters meets an untimely end.

Glenn Close is good - the character is superb, but so one-dimensional that it is not really a great feat of acting, although she brings a whole new understanding to the word "disingenuous". Ted Danson displays surprising range as a self-made billionaire who may or may not have sandbagged his employees in an insider-trading scheme, is definitely a self-impressed braggart, but appears to be be a relatively decent person (relative to the rest of this bunch, for sure) with a heart of gold (even though he is also a cocaine-snorter who consorts with hookers despite having a pretty fine wife) who has ultimately gotten in with sharks even more predatory than himself. Fantastic work by Zeljko Ivanek as Danson's laconic attorney whose Lousisiana drawl makes him all the more mysterious in New York. For myself I just couldn't warm up to Rose Byrne, even though she is the star of the show and turns in some really good high-drama scenes in the sequences detailing the core murder and her associated time in jail -- her character is just so shallow that she cannot compare to the truly evil Glenn Close or the ambiguous roles played by most of the other cast members.

It's not clear to me how a show that pretty much everyone who watched it became total fans didn't manage to catch on. Probably the original late-late timing forced by all the gore limited the total headcount. Another bash on it was that there was no way to catch up on missed episodes (at least for 11 months when the DVD came out). Those issues have nothing to do with the quality of the series itself. Do yourself a favor, get it and watch it. Just make sure to do so at a time when you can pay attention.
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