BluRay/DVD Reviews


By • Sep 2nd, 2009 •

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Still currently the best plotted screenplays in both TV and theatrical features. The writers (whose work can be seen in other series, such as THE SHIELD, The O.C., BIRDS OF PREY, GET REAL, SUDDENLY SUSAN, etc.) are all of a piece. They can twist the mood of a scene 180% within a single sentence, and they do, often, throwing us deliciously off-balance again and again. The feeling of being caught in their emotional osterizer is reminiscent of what Ken Russell went for in his scripts. Jennifer Carpenter is particularly ept at rolling with the scripts’ eddies. And incidentally: do we all hear wedding bells…? Seems the fictional brother and sister team tied the knot for real on New Year’s Eve, 2008. No judging from their on-screen characters if that’s a match made in heaven, but for sure they’re both fine actors.

Now and then a mannerism wears a little thin. This season it’s Michael Hall’s slack-jawed pauses – obviously scripted to be a COLUMBO-like trait, seen by his nemeses, and his viewing audience, as mentally-challenged moments, whereas in fact he’s playing possum and will end up way ahead of his adversaries, and us. But the takes are pretty long.

Jennifer Carpenter continues to amaze. She’s the most effortless kaleidoscope of marvelous emotions I’ve seen in ages. A great actress. Or a fine actress who found her defining role. Either way, lucky for us.

The off-kilter character in this series, silly in a manner not replicated by any of the others, but apparently getting good viewer response, is C.S. Lee as fellow forensics worker Vince Masuka. His personality, interjections, and gaggy one-liners belong in a sitcom, or in an old Hollywood film where he serves as comic relief and every appearance is followed by “Waaa-waaaaa” on the soundtrack. He’s a strange punctuation, but somewhere out there he must be much loved. And as this season is more somber than the last, perhaps his nonsense gives the proceedings a needed comic salvo.

I also think this is season-guest-star Jimmy Smits’ best work. He’s low-key, sincere, threatening…and some his threat comes from that fact that he’s so damn tall. He towers over Michael Hall, at least the way they frame him (6’3″ vs. 5’10 1/2″).

This season spends much more time in the Hispanic community, and the art direction, and lighting, reflect it, giving the show a somewhat renovated look. Another sub-plot has Dexter moving closer and closer to domestic intimacy. I’m trying not to reveal important plot elements…

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