The English (Canal+): Emily Blunt in a bloody and sumptuous western series
After Django last month, Canal+ got back in the saddle with a new western: The English. This mini-series, produced by Amazon Studios and recovered for France by the encrypted channel, transports Emily Blunt to the American West where she embarks on a revenge mission. On her way, she will meet an unexpected ally.
Consisting of six episodes, the mini-series The English (subtitled United by vengeance) will be broadcast from March 30 on Canal+ and the myCanal streaming platform. Here is our review, guaranteed without spoilers.
The story of the series
United States, 1890. In search of the man she holds responsible for the death of her son, Cornelia Lock sets off for the Wild West. This English aristocrat crosses paths with Eli Whipp, a Pawnee Indian and former cavalry scout. They will ride together, crossing violent territories, built on dreams… and blood. Both Cornelia and Eli have a precise idea of their destiny, but are unaware that it is anchored in a common past. Their road is long and the obstacles numerous, like so many physical and psychological challenges to overcome. But each ordeal overcome brings them closer to their destination: Hoxem, a new town in Wyoming. This is where the town sheriff investigates a series of murders, and all come to realize that their stories are intertwined. The time has now come for them to face their present.
Our review of The English
The western is a delicate genre to approach, as its imagery and mythology have been wrung out by decades of films and series. But the recent Hostile (Scott Cooper, 2018) and Bone Tomahawk (S. Craig Zahler, 2015) reminded us that gender always had something to tell. Series The English it also proves it thanks to a neat aesthetic, a unique universe and skilfully diverted archetypes.
Produced by the BBC, the mini-series undoubtedly benefits from its British look. Its author and director Hugo Blick (The Honorable Woman, The Shadow Line) has as much fun taking up emblematic figures (the redneckthe greedy boss, the taciturn sheriff) only to twist them when necessary. The English is thus populated by familiar characters, who reveal at the turn of a scene a fragility, a shadow and new facets. The West is more than ever a great scene where a gallery of astonishing figures crosses paths, from the Indian who was a soldier to the Englishwoman of high society, passing by Austrian religious.
If the story is resolutely dark and realistic, the series also avoids the trap of morose and desaturated. Here, the colors are vibrant and the realization of Hugo Blick, inventive in his frames and their composition, is of formidable efficiency. Oscillating between the bloody and an imagery that one would think came out of a Lucky Luke, The English creates an unprecedented West, between tale and historical reality. Above all, the program delivers retina-flattering images.
With its soft start and its slightly contemplative escapes, the series deserves a little and will perhaps be right for the most impatient. But once the story begins, The English skillfully combines the heart of a classic plot (revenge) and a multitude of secondary and finely connected narrative arcs, which weave a tapestry of stories and points of view. Magnetic.
At the center of this beautifully composed canvas, the duo of main actors is a joy to watch evolve. Emily Blunt (Without a sound, Edge of Tomorrow) confirms that she is one of the most versatile and gifted actresses of her generation, when Chaske Spencer (Twilight) offers himself one of the great roles of his career. Like nice surprises for the viewer, The English is full of quality supporting roles, including the likeable Toby Jones (The mole), Ciaran Hinds (The Terror) and Rafe Spall (The Big Short).
To conclude, The English manages to make new with old, and offers a captivating western with the air of a realistic tale. A program to see without hesitation, beautifully crafted and superbly produced, which will delight fans of the genre as much as the curious. Composed of six 52 min episodes, The English will be broadcast from March 30 on Canal+ and the myCanal streaming platform.
- Watch the series trailer:
What other series to watch on Canal+ and the myCanal platform?
To satisfy its 9.5 million subscribers in France, Canal+ tries to add new valuable films, series and documentaries to its catalog every month. In the lot, we have quality acquisitions, such as the series The English, Yellowjackets, Gomorra Or tokyo vice. The encrypted channel can also count on its original creations which often hit the mark: The Office of Legends, Hippocrates, UFO(s), dark baron or The flame.
In addition to all this content available on Canal+ and the myCanal streaming platform, the channel offers subscriptions integrating other services, such as Netflix, Disney+, OCS or Paramount+. The opportunity for fans of films and series to pay less for individual subscriptions to all these platforms.
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