Patty Jenkins’ ‘I Am The Night’ Makes A Fascinating True Crime Tale Woefully Tedious [Review]

The Playlist | 1/23/2019 | Lena Wilson
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Things I would rather be doing than reviewing “I Am the Night”: yoga, playing with my dog, my dishes, learning how to make a nice shakshuka, looking at messenger bags I can’t afford on Etsy, swiping mindlessly on Tinder. Yet there my dishes lie, and I’m tasked with trying to explain the exact nuances of mundanity that make this Chris Pine-led miniseries so goddamn boring that even Patty Jenkins’ direction can’t zhuzh it up.

Something of a “L.A. Confidential“/”Chinatown” neo-noir with similar baggage about L.A. cops and transgressive Californian conspiracies, “I Am the Night” has a wet-dream premise for a true crime nerds: The paths of Pat, a white-passing black girl (India Eisley) and Jay Singletary, a failed crime reporter (Chris Pine), intersect as the two are mysteriously connected to George Hodel, the evil doctor (Jefferson Mays) who allegedly killed the Black Dahlia. There are a few intriguing twists to each player’s arcs – Pat’s lineage is not what it seems, Jay’s still chasing a mysterious story – that would make for fascinating fodder for the show’s first two episodes. Unfortunately, the show drags these few kernels of fascination out to five hour-long installments, with the action of its sixth and final episode barely making up for so much sloggy build-up. Imagine you’ve been going up on a roller coaster for half an hour, but when the drop finally comes, it’s five feet high. Since the twists in the show are more like particularly strong basic plot points, you can also see them coming from a...
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