A Murder at the End of the World Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online
Murder mysteries are a conceit that will ironically never die. The whodunit remains eternally compelling because it doesn’t just send us on a journey to try and decipher the murderer’s identity and motive; it invites us to try and piece together the clues ourselves, to see if we can figure it out before the reveal happens. Pair that with the fact that TV viewers have been ardently waiting for the next big project from longtime creative partners Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, and you’ve got a series that’s already been inviting anticipation.
Good news: A Murder at the End of the World is more than worth the wait. While this show may be more of a straightforward story from the duo compared to earlier works, it takes all the familiar components of a murder mystery and puts surprising spins on them, dropping its characters into a remote environment before the dangerous setting forces them into even closer confinement. As the body count rises and suspicion grows, tensions rise amidst the remaining guests until everyone is eyeing each other differently — but the person ultimately responsible for these murders may be the last one anyone (including us) suspects.
Amateur sleuth Darby Hart (Emma Corrin) has always been fascinated with murder — tackling those cases that law enforcement has either reached a dead end with or completely given up on. As the daughter of the local medical examiner, she spent her formative years helping her dad at various crime scenes instead of marking off any significant social milestones. Through the resource that is the internet, however, she connects with other “citizen detectives” (imagine her and Misty Quigley teaming up!) and pieces together clues that might have otherwise gone overlooked. Eventually, she meets Bill Farrah (Harris Dickinson), a hacker and coder who becomes her partner in more than one sense, even as their differing philosophical approaches to solving cold cases threaten to drive them apart.
Darby’s long-running investigation of a serial murder case has culminated in the publication of her first book, which she’s dedicated to a personal hero of hers: Lee (Marling), a fringe hacker with a reputation both renowned and infamous. While Lee’s online activities were anything but legal, she was someone Darby considered aspirational — at least before she was stalked, doxxed, and ultimately went into hiding to protect herself. Since then, there’s been almost no news of Lee’s whereabouts, except for her marriage to reclusive tech billionaire Andy Ronson (Clive Owen), and when Darby namedrops Lee at her latest book reading, she soon receives an invitation to a private retreat hosted by Ronson himself. Alongside eight other guests who have been selected to attend, Darby travels to a remote, impressive location that just so happens to include all the technologically advanced bells and whistles one could imagine. But when a member of the group is discovered dead, Darby must prove that it was, in fact, murder — and that the killer is among them — no matter the forces that might try to stop her investigation.
Gathering your cast of characters together under one roof is an all-but-assured way to get your whodunit going, but where A Murder at the End of the World boasts an advantage over many of the murder mysteries of recent memory is in its setting. The location of Ronson’s retreat for his chosen guests — quickly revealed to be Iceland — immediately makes the story feel that much more claustrophobic and confined, even before a more foreboding blizzard traps the guests in with each other. There’s something perfectly chilling (no pun intended) about being at nature’s mercy, especially when being caught outside without the proper insulation on could mean the difference between a light sting and hypothermia. A remote setting for an intimate gathering seems like a fun idea at first, but when you realize you might very well be sharing space with a murderer and that any potential roads of escape are closing, what first resembled an idyllic getaway quickly starts to feel more like an ominous trap.
A Murder at the End of the World doesn’t solely rely on the device of forcing its characters into close quarters to make its story more eerie — the show’s very aesthetic, especially in the present-day timeline, is austere and biting. Marling and Batmanglij, who share directing duties on the series, give the retreat scenes a distinctly different appearance than the warm, well-lit moments where we jump back to the past to follow Darby’s previous investigation. Paired with director of photography Charlotte Bruus Christensen, their approach makes the series not just look cold but feel cold, as if you’d be best served by grabbing a blanket and a mug of something hot while you make your way through the episodes.
Beyond the show’s frosty appearance, A Murder at the End of the World couldn’t be mistaken for anything but a modern mystery-thriller, where technology is inextricably woven into the fabric of the story. When the guests all sit down to dinner and begin discussing AI and the staggering advancements made in that realm, it packs a more impactful punch given the recent conversations that have played out about its use in films and shows exactly like this one. But A Murder at the End of World isn’t just interested in paying lip service to the topic without reckoning with how an overdependence on this type of technology is still surrounded by so many unknowns. When Darby finds herself leaning on Ronson’s AI personal assistant Ray (Edoardo Ballerini) while looking into the murder, it’s a modernized twist on the classic mystery partnership, but how much can she trust this connection?
A Murder at the End of the World wouldn’t work half as well as it does without Emma Corrin as its lead. The actor who first became known to mainstream audiences for their performance of a young Diana, Princess of Wales in The Crown, as well as roles in My Policeman and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, is clearly only just getting started in what promises to be an impressive career. While A Murder at the End of the World isn’t Corrin’s first television role, it has the distinction of letting them explore a wholly original character at various stages throughout her life.
The show primarily circles around two timelines — both in the past, as Darby and Bill team up to look into the serial murders that she’ll eventually dub the “Silver Doe” case, and in the present, when Darby ends up in the thick of another investigation that hits much closer to home. It’s a device that allows Corrin to play two versions of the same person. There’s the Darby in the earlier years of her life, an ostracized young woman secretly looking for connection online, as well as who she is now, the more guarded Gen Z-er burned by certain attachments but still in possession of a keen analytical mind. Corrin’s performance is all about the subtleties between past and present, not to mention an emphasis on Darby’s observational habits. There are times when they’re barely saying a word at all on-screen, but you can tell Darby’s brain is still whirring as she attempts to put all the important pieces together.
A Murder at the End of the World is a show that demands to be savored, to be doled out in bits and pieces — so it’s a good thing that it isn’t getting dropped in its entirety. With a story like this, one that offers intriguing characters, unsettling surprises (including more than one jump scare), and creeping and dangerous natural elements, you’ll want to absorb it as slowly as you possibly can. Marling and Batmanglij’s latest collaboration is a thought-provoking, twisty mystery that’s even better when you’re not trying to guess where it’s headed.