Written and directed by Hugo Blick, The English is a western drama miniseries that stars Emily Blunt and Chaske Spencer.
Set in 1890, an aristocratic Englishwoman, Lady Cornelia Locke (Emily Blunt) travels to America to seek revenge on the man the murdered her son. While on her search she meets Eli Whipp (Chaske Spencer), a member of the Pawnee Nation on his own mission to claim the land that was promised to him. The two will soon find out that they may have a shared history.
I am honestly conflicted about how I feel about this series. I quite enjoyed the first episode as it introduces the characters and what their aim is, and it even wastes no time raising the stakes. But I feel like the subsequent five episodes are a little hit and miss. The series seems to go a little flat after such a strong and promising opening episode. The stakes do get higher, but it is nowhere near as exciting or as thrilling.
The series is very dialogue driven which does help to enhance the drama, although at times it can feel a little too long before you start to wish for something new to happen. Not to say that there aren’t any interesting moments, but the series felt like it contained a lot of filler. The English may have benefited from being a film rather than a series which is a shame because there is an intriguing story in there to be told.
I don’t have only negative opinions on this series though. I liked the set design, and it looked like a lot of work was put in to make look like it was set in the west in 1890. The costumes look like they are from that time as well but one thing I found interesting was that for the most part, the characters and their costumes are clean which I find a little hard to believe for people that are living in the west and are riding horses as their mode of transformation. This is only a minor niggle, but it was something that came to my mind when watching the series.
While my interest may have gradually decreased with each episode, there are still some amazing acting performances. I don’t think I have seen a performance from Emily Blunt that I haven’t enjoyed, and this was no exception. She can be funny, and she can be sad, but she can also do action sequences very well. I feel like she can do whatever it is that is required of her when the time is needed and she shares the limelight with Chaske Spencer, and the two have tremendous chemistry together. Even when the series is not at its most interesting, these two are still a joy to watch when they are on screen, especially when they are together.
The English is a series that has everything going for it. It is well made, well-acted, and has an interesting story to tell. However, its main issue is that it tends to drag on in parts and I believe that if The English was a film rather than a series, a lot of the padding would have been cut out and it could have been much better.
The Amazon Original Series, The English is on Amazon Prime Video in Australia now.