There is no shortage of true crime media these days. Just turn on any streaming service and you’re bound to see old new fiction or documentary projects chronicling the history of the most despicable killers in history. Not all of them are bad, but after a while, they can blend together and struggle to deliver anything new or insightful to a potential audience. The ubiquity of these titles means it might be easy at first to dismiss the Australian serial killer feature, the stranger, just another Netflix title exploiting real-world tragedies to grab people’s attention. But look closely at this film and one finds several key elements that immediately separate this feature from the vast majority of true-crime cinema.
What is ‘The Stranger’?
Written and directed by Thomas M. Wright, the stranger Henry begins by following Teague (Sean Harris) while looking for a job on the bus. He finally found Mark Frame (Joel Edgerton), who introduces Teague to a crime syndicate that can help give him cash. It turns out, however, that Frame is an undercover police officer assigned to investigate Teague, the primary suspect in the murder of a child a year earlier. Frame must get closer and closer to this man, pulling into his beliefs and finding out whatever information he can about this man’s involvement in an unspeakable act of violence.
Many unique elements in the the stranger Thomas M. Comes from Wright’s banned filmmaking. The director is not here to spoon-feed the audience with information, nor is he here to cheapen a story rooted in reality (albeit with the name of the killer, as the filmmakers say). Facial melodrama. Instead, there is an eerie calm the stranger, is proven in its opening scenes that draw the audience into Tig’s world without any prior setup. This kickoff establishes that what we’re watching is a slow-burn thriller, not one that constantly drops recognizable elements or details you hear on true-crime podcasts.
A departure from true-crime rules
The clinical and cold filmmaking style of these early scenes establishes another key aspect the stranger That’s what separates it from many other true-crime projects: an indifference to the psychology or headspace of an accused killer. There are no flashbacks here as to why he might have become a killer, with only an offhand mention of a normal upbringing to his past. We don’t get long scenes of murder from his point of view or stretches of story dedicated to exploring what it’s like to live in his head on a daily basis. It’s a welcome departure from modern pop culture norms, which often show a gruesome level to delve into the psychology of these brutal minds.
‘The Stranger’ keeps the audience at arm’s length
Also, this approach works for the story the stranger. Tig keeps himself away from everyone he comes in contact with, therefore the stranger There is also an option to keep him away from the audience. Better yet, it means all the violence is inside the stranger Placed off-screen, we don’t see a drop of blood or a broken arm. Many true-crime projects embrace the presence of a serial killer as an excuse to engage in long sequences of extreme violence. In the process, whether intentional or not, they can reduce real-life murder victims to mere gruesome eye candy for bored Netflix viewers.
Expanding of a stranger With a sense of restraint in its depiction of violence, this production avoids that problem with other true-crime projects and keeps viewers closer to the psyche of the man who calls himself Mark Frame. This friend is always on the sidelines knowing that he is interacting with a man who commits violence, but also recognizes that he has never seen him commit an act of cruelty. The suggestion that Teague is capable of something terrible torments Frame’s mind, especially in a dream sequence where he imagines Teague crawling into his teenage son’s bed. Even in this dream, Frame is not imagining Tig cutting up his son with a butcher knife. However, the suggestion of Teague’s capacity for violence is enough to make both frame and audience unspeakably nervous.
In another welcome departure from true-crime movie/TV show norms, the stranger There is also the option of not mentioning the name of the murdered child which spurs the whole plot into action. Now, many of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims have expressed great displeasure Ryan Murphywho Asphalt The parents of the children who were killed by the man who inspired the fictional character of the series, Teague, say they are not satisfied with their existence. the strangerAs reported by News.com.au. That’s an incredibly valid opinion and it must be incredibly difficult to see any kind of art inspired by the murder of your child.
A movie about a real-life killer that isn’t about a real-life killer
However, if you’re going to create a piece of pop culture around this kind of horrific real-world event, the stranger At least it seems to provide a solid blueprint for this kind of art. For one thing, the murdered child’s name is never used in the film while fictitious names are used for everyone, including the killer. This sadistic killer doesn’t get his name attached to a major movie and ensures that he becomes even more famous. Instead, this real-world event has inspired a fictional story, which takes many cues from reality (a sting operation involving undercover cops caught a real-like killer) but also provides some distance between it and the truth. It ensures the stranger We can face parts of our fearful reality without reducing real pain to spectacle.
The most important ways the stranger Deviating from true-crime pop culture norms is in Teague’s portrayal of herself. Because the production is creating a fictional stand-in for a real-life person, Teague isn’t forced to conform to the audience’s expectations of how a certain killer would behave or dress. Instead, Wright’s script makes him this empty shell of a man brought to ghostly life by Sean Harris. There’s no disarming charisma here, just those eyes that look like they’re always looking into another dimension. There are no stylized quirks or whimsical tics attributed to Teague, he’s just this restlessly calm and detached person.
That means Teague isn’t the kind of person people dress up for Halloween or comic conventions — and that’s a good thing. He’s a blank space of a man, not a bunch of quotable lines stitched together into a human or a tragic backstory dovetailing into a murder. He is also a symbol of a stranger A unique approach to true crime storytelling, which is oriented around navigating a real scenario using fictional characters, to capture truly authentic and engaging emotions. It may not be what people expect when watching a modern true-crime movie or TV show, however the stranger Makes a solid case for using this approach more regularly.