𝐂𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐨𝐫 – 𝐂𝐢𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐧 𝐃𝐨𝐧𝐧𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐲 & 𝐌𝐢𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐞𝐥 𝐌𝐜𝐊𝐞𝐧𝐧𝐚
𝐍𝐨. 𝐨𝐟 𝐄𝐩𝐢𝐬𝐨𝐝𝐞𝐬 – 𝟖
𝐑𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞 – 𝟓𝟒 – 𝟔𝟎 𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐬 𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡
The advertising poster of Kin said “The Sopranos of our times”. Its a gross overstatement, because The Sopranos had a humorous bent along with the almost gratuitous violence with protagonists who range in likeability. Kin lacks that humor. It is deathly serious in its narrative as well as aesthetic. The narrative hook doesn’t begin with Michael Kinsella (Charlie Cox) released from prison and joining his family. Neither does the narrative hook begin when Eric Kinsella (Sam Keeley) kill an underboss of the Cunningham family led by Eamon Cunningham (Ciaran Hinds), which starts to build up to a gangland war. No what makes the story boil over is the killing of the young son of Amanda and Jimmy Kinsella, an innocent.
What made Kin significantly different and maybe hard for people to go through the whole show is how much it dwells in the trauma of the death of the young boy and the effects it has on both of the families – especially on Amanda (Clare Dunne) & Jimmy (Emmitt Scanlan). How much that trauma causes them to act in rage and start getting sloppy in their maneuvers.
And amidst all of that, there are the visuals, exquisite shots which would become trademarks of the Powell and Pressburger collaboration for the next 20 years they would work together.
The show however slowly builds on that hot bed of trauma and creates a compelling gangster drama, different from the regular gangland porn we get. Partly because the acting is par excellence across the board with well known actors like Cox, Aidan Gillen, Ciaran Hinds and others working in tandem with wonderful character actors of the Irish entertainment sphere. However the big positive the show does is craft one of the most compelling female protagonists seen recently in any media related to mob stories. Clare Dunne as Amanda Kinsella is a revelation – powerful, determined, vulnerable. Her character arc overshadows almost everyone else’s throughout the show, even as Cox’s Michael is an interesting wild card.
Kin is an interesting watch, definitely surprising even from me. With callbacks to classics of the genre like The Godfather Trilogy, it does manage to craft its own identity. While its writing is not anything ground breaking, and its little detour into psychedelics feel out of place, it definitely has the melancholic vibe and oppressive aesthetic down, with a fantastic soundtrack, and a wonderful ensemble cast. Season 2 can’t come soon enough.
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.