For those of us who love a well-made Western, Prime Video’s dark and unforgiving new series The English — which has an at-times hard-to-watch revenge tale at the core of its sparse narrative — comes close to offering up sheer TV perfection.
“I’ll tell you a story,” Emily Blunt’s aristocratic Englishwoman, Lady Cornelia Locke, says at one point early on in this 6-episode series — which hits Amazon’s streamer on Friday — before launching into a mini-soliloquy about how quickly things can change in lawless, wide-open spaces. “It’s like magic,” she muses. “Both of us (were) about to get killed, and yet here we are …
“… and it’s everyone else that’s dead.”
New Prime Video series The English
Dialog like that only hints at the menace that exists side-by-side with the natural beauty in this series — and in the rolling fields and dusty towns dotting the expansive, post-Civil War countryside, we’re reminded of just how fungible a concept like justice can be.
When we first meet her, Blunt’s Locke strolls into the frame wearing what looks to be expensive finery. Until we quickly see that, underneath the veneer of nobility, there’s a woman who’s seething with rage. And that she intends to kill. “Someone killed my child,” she later says, her tear-stained face the only hint of emotion as she whispers the threat. “And now I’m gonna kill them.”
She addresses a taciturn ex-cavalry scout, Eli Whipp. “Will you help me?”
“Can you shoot?”
“If I have to.”
“Oh, you’ll have to.”
At its core, The English is basically a Western wrapped around a lengthy chase featuring the main characters, written and directed by Hugo Black. Blunt’s Englishwoman and the ex-calvary scout (played by Chaske Spencer) come together in the middle America of the 1890s, Prime Video explains, “to cross a violent landscape built on dreams and blood.”
This Prime Video limited series is also a co-production between Amazon Studios and the BBC. Additionally, all six episodes will premiere at once on November 11 in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Nordics.
“As each obstacle is overcome, it draws them closer to their ultimate destination — the new town of Hoxem, Wyoming,” the Prime Video summary continues, in its summary of the story.
“It is here, after an investigation by the local sheriff Robert Marshall (Stephen Rea, The Shadow Line) and young widow Martha Myers (Valerie Pachner, A Hidden Life) into a series of bizarre and macabre unsolved murders, that the full extent of their intertwined history will be truly understood, and they will come face-to-face with the future they must live.”
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