STREAMING REVIEWS: Pride Month offering and reality docu-drama


LGBTQ elements abound in the hilarious murder mystery limited series Deadloch; while Reality is a winning docu-drama that reports on political events from six years ago.


Deadloch (Amazon Prime Australia) - It’s probably not a coincidence that this Aussie series drops as Pride Month kicks in. How best to describe it? It’s a detective procedural set in a small Tasmanian town, with as many LGBTQ queer elements as there are dead bodies popping up. There’s a vicious sense of humor that recalls Taika Waititi being asked to direct a backwoods/outback noir narrative. The opening scenes are precious and help set the tone - the first involves two girls walking along a beach early in the morning and stumbling upon a strangled corpse, with one girl dropping her lit cigarette on the pubic hair of the dead person, then we segue to two women making love, while a rescue dog seems distressed by the scene. Welcome to Deadloch!


Turns out that one of the women in bed is the local law enforcement officer, and in this town where the biggest law offender and problem has been a seal who likes to rest in the center of a wooden towpath bridge; the discovery of this murder victim upsets normalcy in a big way. A detective from Darwin is summoned to Deadloch to help move the case forward, and it’s a she, who just comes in like a tropical storm. Kate Box is the local police, while Madeleine Sami handles the role of the Darwin detective. And look out for Nina Oyama as Abby, the junior constable in the force, as she’s super-funny. Three of eight episodes dropped last Friday, and they’re wonderfully dark and funny. Only minor criticism I’d level is how Sami’s attack on the Darwin detective role lacks any form of subtlety.


Reality (HBO Go USA) Here’s a docu-drama that recounts the circumstances leading to the arrest and conviction of Reality Winner back in 2017. Tina Satter directs and it’s based on her stage okay Is This A Room. Sydney Sweeney portrays Reality Winner - and unbelievably, that is her real name; and coming from the series Euphoria, it’s interesting to note how Sweeney dials it down for her attack on this new role. If you recall, what basically happened in 2017 was that Winner was charged for being among those responsible for the leaking of classified documents that chronicled and exposed Russia’s interference in the US Presidential elections of 2016. This the election that brought Donald Trump to power.

The film adaptation is an impressive exercise of imagination, restraint, and providing tension and drama. As the screws are tightened on former intelligence officer Reality, there’s a strong claustrophobic quality to how the film progresses. Playing the two detectives who questioned Reality are Josh Hamilton and Marchánt Davis and they’re effective as well, turning the docu-drama into the three part acting vehicle. Where parts of the transcripts have been redacted and we rely on the writer’s imagination or embellishment, a narrative device is employed to remind us that what we’re watching isn’t in the records. It’s an interesting device that pushes the bounds between fact and fiction, making a strong statement about national security, and law and order.