Streaming highlights May 21-25: Domina & The Window In The Window

EPIC: Polish-Italian actress Kasia Smutniak stars as Livia in Roman drama Domina. Below, Amy Adams in The Woman In The Window.
EPIC: Polish-Italian actress Kasia Smutniak stars as Livia in Roman drama Domina. Below, Amy Adams in The Woman In The Window.

DOMINA

Stan

LAST month there was plenty of talk about Netflix's fantasy series Shadow and Bone being the new Game Of Thrones, however, it proved hype over substance.

Perhaps a more fitting successor to GoT's sizable mantle could be Roman historical drama, Domina. All the necessary ingredients are present; gore, sex, political power struggles and enough back-stabbing - both metaphorical and literal - to keep the storyline ticking along.

While there's plenty of films and TV series that explore the bloody history of the Roman Empire, Domina separates itself with its focus on the events through the eyes of female characters, namely that of Livia Drusilla.

Domina begins a year after the assassination of Julius Caesar and Senator Claudianus (Liam Cunningham) is marrying off his 15-year-old daughter Livia to a much older and uncaring, Tiberius Claudius Nero. Meanwhile, Gaius (Tom Glynn-Carney) is plotting to avenge Julius Caesar and take back power in Rome.

Episode one focuses on the misogynistic culture of ancient Rome. Livia's and Nero's marriage ceremony is devoid of all romance and is merely a contractual exchange between father and husband, and the wedding night is awkward in the extreme.

Once civil war breaks out and Gaius seizes power, Livia, Nero, their servants and young son flee Rome as fugitives. But it quickly becomes apparent that it's the determined and intelligent Livia, not her cowardly husband, that is keeping their party alive.

DISAPPOINTING: Amy Adams in Window In The Window.

DISAPPOINTING: Amy Adams in Window In The Window.

THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW

Netflix

WHEN you see names like Amy Adams, Julianne Moore and Gary Oldman roll out in the opening credits you're usually ensured quality viewing.

Three years ago the Golden Globe or Oscar-winning trio starred in psychological thriller The Woman In The Window, and finally due to COVID-19, it has debuted on Netflix. Sadly, it wasn't worth the wait.

Based on the 2018 novel of the same name by A. J. Finn, The Woman In The Window is a patchwork of older films such as Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 classic Rear Window and the 1995 thriller Copycat, starring Sigourney Weaver and Holly Hunter.

So much so that at the times you sense the film is more focused on homage or nostalgia than building actual suspense.

The plot follows psychologist, Dr Anna Fox (Adams) who is suffering from agoraphobia, which leaves her trapped inside her New York apartment. Fox's mental health continues to spiral as she medicates herself with a cocktail of pills and red wine.

Fox regularly watches a family across the street where a 15-year-old boy is seemingly traumatised by the abusive relationship between his parents, played by Moore and Oldman.

When Fox observes a murder across the street her grasp of reality is thrown into question by the police and her neighbours.

Psychological thrillers rely on twists and tension to lure in viewers and The Woman In The Window lacks both. Moore's cameo is an all-too-brief highlight and Oldman isn't given any room to display depth or purpose to his aggressive character.

That leaves Adams to anchor the film, but even her wide-ranging skills can't save The Window In The Window's convoluted plot.

This story Roman history receives modern context in Domina first appeared on Newcastle Herald.