Review: You Don’t Know Me

Looking for something to watch, I decided to finally start working through my Netflix queue. After going through some Korean dramas, came across the BBC series You Don’t Know Me, a four part miniseries based on a book by the same name.

It relates the story of Hero, a British man on trial for murder and giving his closing remarks the jury after firing his barrister. All the evidence is stacked against him, so he makes one final play and relates the “truth” of what really transpired. From there, the audience is taken through four episodes of Hero monologuing and describing the events that led to Jamil’s, a gangster, death. We see all the various elements and cast of character in Hero’s life that were involved in the events that resulted in a death and other criminal acts.

Of course, the central theme of the miniseries is that people and events are not what they seem. Hero is, by all measurable accounts, an unreliable narrator. Though seemingly a good man, he consistently seems to make, by his own admission, terrible choices for supposedly good reasons that result in worse options. With each passing decision, he leads himself, his family, and his loved ones into more and more dangerous situations until a gang is after them all. This is all told to the listening jury by Hero as he gives his closing words of his trial.

Ultimately, the series has an ambiguous ending where it shows both potential verdicts play out. Essentially a good and bad ending where the audience makes the choice, but really is more of a take on the ambiguity and uncertainty of how trials will go regardless of the “truth” of what is presented.

I am a bit torn on this series. The acting, writing, and production is all actually good, and I cannot really find any faults. Except for one: it is too long. This is another example of a miniseries or series that would have worked much better as a just under two hours movie. A few details and scenes could have easily been cut to get the same result and message across without losing any impact or significance. It is a perfectly fine production, and I do recommend watching it if you get the chance. I just genuinely believe it would have been better as a shorter film or two hour long episode special.

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