Hugh Grant, Hugh Grant and, again, Hugh Grant. One had to look for only one reason, the most valid, with which to fully support the vision of The Undoing, this would answer – and no doubt – to the name of Hugh Grant. Because it took the advent of television series, its hybridization with Hollywood to free the British actor from the role, albeit very successful, of the “bad dick”. The pendulous-eyed Grant, with the sweet smile of “Surreal, but beautiful,” has been a prisoner, over time, of his English charm.
And it was only (or almost) television that gave him back the possibility of a different, more structured, complex role, within which the boundaries between good and evil are blurred and smoky. The Undoing, as done, in part, by A Very English Scandal, asked Hugh Grant to play an ambiguous man: someone who only in appearance might seem worthy of esteem.
Jonathan Fraser, protagonist, together with his wife Grace of the fictional facts told in The Undoing, on Sky from 8 January, is a pediatric oncologist, gifted with extraordinary sensitivity and empathy. In New York, he became known as one of the most successful and accomplished doctors. But that image of his as a devoted man, talented professional, and contented husband in the series appears as the confused segment of the larger picture. Jonathan Fraser, in the six episodes of The Undoing, he is accused of the murder of Elena Alves, the young mother of an even younger patient. Fraser is the saint and Fraser is the Devil, and where the reason lies, who is the victim of the plot is something that can only be understood in the final act of the TV series, a gripping, fast thriller, where the vertical development of the plot ( miraculously) manages to reconcile with the suspense, omnipresent.
The Undoing it is a little jewel of seriality, and Hugh Grant’s interpretation, his becoming slimy and then evil and charitable and unfairly beaten, is his brightest stone. Not the only one, however. Why the series directed by Oscar winner Susan Bier did not miss a single engagement. Nicole Kidman, with curly red hair from the beginning, is the psychologist wife of the oncologist that the public would like to kill. And it is her truculent visions, fragments of embraces and death that lead the viewer to wonder if she, esteemed doctor, has nothing to do with the slaughter that ended the life of Elena Alves, a Matilda De Angelis that, while remaining a few minutes on the screen, manages to hover in every image of the TV series, in every frame.
De Angelis, perfect in her English as a young foreigner belonging to the poorest New York, is credible and prepared. And, almost, there seems to be no such awe in her that one would expect from an actress who, from Italy, leaves for America, to play between Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman. Naked, moreover, just as De Angelis is naked in the scene of The Undoing that has been around the web. Matilda De Angelis is good, very good. It is one more reason to see, in one breath, the Sky miniseries, which, in its narration, manages to tell (also) how the American judicial system works: the popular jury, the OJ Simpson lawyers, the gigantic media bandwagon and the mud machine, reasonable doubt and the indissoluble link between money and possibilities.