TV Review - Nightingale

David Oyelowo (Selma and Lee Daniels' The Butler) stars as Peter Snowden, an army vet who lives at home with his mother. He becomes obsessed with meeting up with an old friend he knew while serving in the military. It's similar to the film Locke starring Tom Hardy in that the whole thing takes place in one confined space and Oyelowo is the only actor who is seen on screen. The voices of others are heard like in Locke when the titular character talks on the phone, but he's the only one seen on screen.

My problem with Locke is that I didn't see the point and I didn't get the character. I certainly didn't like the character. Here, I'm more intrigued with Oyelowo's character, even when he's doing despicable or highly unlikeable things. I also think Oyelowo's performance is better in part because he gets to play a wider array of emotions and gets more to do. The constraints of the premise of Locke limited it but still.

Directed by Elliott Lester, the look of the film is also intriguing. The movie feels like it's taking place in the past like the 1980's or 90's. This is mainly due to the production design inside Peter's house. The clothing and objects are almost anachronistic. It's like the recent horror film It Follows in that regard. However, one piece of technology snaps us into the present or future.

There's a TV series called Bates Motel, which has the actor Freddie Highmore doing an interpretation or version of Anthony Perkins' character Norman Bates from Psycho. Yet, Oyelowo does one better than Highmore and comes across as more Norman Bates than either. It's also interesting to think of Peter as possibly being gay.

That might not be the case, but Oyelowo's performance is so great that much of the fun is watching it and watching it again, while trying to deconstruct Peter's words and actions. Every movement and even the way Oyelowo holds his body are all just amazing choices. His is a performance that should get an Emmy nomination for Best Actor.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-14-DLV.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 22 mins.
Available on HBO.


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