TV review: Nine Perfect Strangers
NINE PERFECT STRANGERS (M18)
Fans of Big Little Lies are in for a treat, with this new miniseries from the same team behind the award-winning HBO hit.
Based on the 2018 novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty and created by David E. Kelley, it also sees the return of Nicole Kidman.
Premiering on Amazon Prime Video today, Nine Perfect Strangers boasts a similar vibe but will not grab you as instantly as its soapy predecessor.
It is also reminiscent of the recently concluded satirical comedy-drama series The White Lotus, and even has shades of the latest M. Night Shyamalan mystery thriller film Old.
Nine troubled guests from the city gather for a 10-day retreat at Tranquillum House, an exclusive health and wellness resort which promises to transform and heal.
But the secluded sanctuary is not what it seems.
Secrets and revelations abound, and the guests will come to realise why they have been selected to come together by the resort's enigmatic director Masha (Kidman).
Top-notch performances from the star-studded ensemble and fascinating characters make the show watchable, despite several weak plot strands and uneven tone and pacing.
The back-and-forth banter between unlikely pairing Melissa McCarthy and Bobby Cannavale - as a romance author and football star past their primes and struggling with current traumas - provides the comic relief.
A secretly grieving Michael Shannon brings the pathos after a family tragedy, Samara Weaving is quite the revelation as an insecure Instagram influencer whose marriage is on the rocks, and Luke Evans turns up as the shadiest of them all.
Ghostly, witchy Kidman - sporting a bad wig and weird god complex - is suitably unsettling as the otherworldly Russian guru, or what McCarthy's character refers to as an "Eastern bloc unicorn", but there is something sinister bubbling beneath the serene veneer.
Trippy, escapist and lush, Nine Perfect Strangers will entice you to stay for the whole journey, where you can enjoy some rest and relax in good company. - JEANMARIE TAN