On November 11, 2022, Amazon Prime Video released “The English,” a throwback to the Westerns of yesteryear that follows a woman as she seeks revenge on the man she sees as responsible for the death of her son. SAG Award winner Emily Blunt stars in the series with Chaske Spencer, Rafe Spall, Toby Jones and Ciaran Hinds. The six-part drama was written and directed by Emmy nominee Hugo Blick.
With a score of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, the series has garnered accolades amongst the majority of the critics. The consensus reads, “A visual knockout elevated by Emily Blunt and Chaske Spencer’s performances, The English is a heady and somewhat meandering Western made with admirable craft.”
SEE ‘The English’ cinematographer Arnau Valls Colomer reveals discovering a part of Spain he never knew existed
According to our updated odds, Blunt is expected to reap her seventh Golden Globe bid and fourth SAG Awards nomination for her role as Cornelia Locke. The TV show sits in eighth place for Best TV Movie/Limited Series at the Globes .
M.N. Miller of Ready Steady Cut writes, “While tackling themes of the genocide of Indigenous people and regrettable treatment of women, Blick tries to offer the anti-Western. The English series is as far from Tombstone as you can get.” Blunt is praised and “Her showdown with Hinds’ Watts is magnetic, as well as when she challenges any man who doubts her grit and toughness that is as far from being a weeping English rose. Blunt and Spencer have an old-fashioned chemistry that recalls great Hollywood westerns, but the themes of shared trauma are deeply layered here.”
Hanna Flint of IGN Movies compares Chaske Spencer to a young Sam Elliott, and things only get better from there. “Hinds is utterly chilling, especially in a squirmish dining scene involving ‘prairie oysters’ and Blunt who holds her own against the formidable adversary.” Overall, the series is succeeds in combining “Western tradition with a modern twist and dry humor.”
Jean Henegan of Pop Culture Maniacs was less impressed stating, “after watching the six episodes of the show provided for critics, well, I honestly wish I’d never turned it on in the first place….Much of the series is told in vignettes – we see our pair meet and face off with their first set of villains. Then they travel together to their next villains. Then they split and each face additional villains. There’s an almost video game quality to the story – you follow the character on their journey until they reach the level boss, who they must defeat to get to the next story.” That might work for some viewers in hindsight. “So, is The English worth a look? Honestly, no, as you can find much better westerns out there to watch that don’t require so much mental math to make sense of them.”
Maggie Lovitt of Collider states that the series succeeds due to the gung ho nature of the plot. There is no fear or topic that is off limits. “Blunt is no stranger to playing posh aristocrats thrown into dangerous new adventures, but paired with the chemistry she shares with Spencer, The English gives her a chance to elevate her performance to a new echelon. That elevation is reciprocated in Spencer, who may have finally landed a role that allows him to escape the far-reaching shadow of the Twilight Saga.” Lovitt adds, “No matter how brutal, how bloody, how blistering the quest for vengeance and reclamation is, the unbreakable bonds forged between characters remain center stage.”
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