Fans of The Kettering Incident, we have good news: The Gloaming is even better.
The limited-run show is a masterclass is sending ribbons of plot streaming over the screen, before slowly pulling them together over eight nail-biting hours. And for those fans of Kettering left infuriated by its ambiguous ending, never fear. The Gloaming comes to a satisfying conclusion, with the door left open only an inch to the possibility of further seasons.
There is the ritualistic, gruesome murder of an older woman, left wrapped in barbed wire in front of a waterfall. There are the two dropkick youths, drug-addicted and wounded and tender in spite of themselves. There is the slick property developer up to no good, and the religious, smirking woman peering out the windows of the local dance school. And then there is a second murder 20 year’s earlier, of a young girl, never solved.
This is what our two lead characters – Emma Booth’s stoic and spontaneous Detective Molly McGee, and Ewan Leslie’s Detective Alex O’Connell – have to contend with. The plot inches along a wire pulled almost unbearably taut, as Molly and Alex navigate a progressively more supernatural world of ghosts, family secrets, and black magic.
As usual, Madden has left no element of production out in her orchestration of gorgeous unease. Hobart is captured splendidly, and the music is beautifully chosen. Every member of the cast pulls their weight, with each character’s grimly-set expression more foreboding than the last. The Gloaming won’t change your life but it is wonderfully dark entertainment – a great campfire story given a big budget, and lent depth by the exploration of grief that simmers beneath the story’s surface.
There is no need to say ‘this is one of the best Australian productions in recent years’, although it is. The Gloaming can clearly go toe-to-toe with the best crime miniseries the world has to offer.