Kirby works at Chicago Sun-Times– the show makes wonderful use of Windy City – and there she teams up with an alcoholic reporter named Dan Velazquez (Wagner Moura) to try to determine if the man who attacked her is the same one responsible for murdering a local girl. As they prepare the case, they begin to discover things that make no physical sense, such as a victim’s object found in a victim’s body several years earlier. And what about the matchbook found in Kirby from a place that doesn’t exist…yet. It turns out Harper doesn’t abide by the rules of time and space, and his next victim, Jin-Sook (Phillipa Soo), may be unable to stop the future he’s already seen.
“Shining Girls” is a thematic treasure in the way it unpacks the impact of trauma on reality, and Moss is more than up for the challenge of a tough role like this. At first, her performance felt a little too mannered to me, but she adjusts to the intensity as Kirby grows more confident that she’s not just going crazy. Moss is quite simply one of the best actresses of her generation, the kind of performer who can sell a premise as outlandish as this. She’s expertly balanced by Jamie Bell, who does one of the best jobs of her career in a truly menacing and terrifying performance. Harper is the kind of serial killer who doesn’t hide in the shadows — he openly stalks his victims with a confidence that borders on Christian Bale in “American Psycho.” There’s something about her choice of accent and almost charming delivery that sends shivers down your spine. Stalkers and abusers can sometimes feel like they are in control of the world. This one actually does.
If there’s a problem with “Shining Girls,” and it’s a big problem, it’s still one of those projects I wish I’d done ten years ago as a feature film. It has plenty of great ideas and two stellar performances, but there’s too little justification for it being an episodic series and it feels like most of the narrative stretching happens in the early episodes when scriptwriters spin their wheels when they need to hit the ground running. It’s the kind of thing that undeniably would have been a hit thriller two decades ago, and while it might get more attention as “Prestige TV,” it can’t quite fill a season. , which leads to foot dragging and repetition, two things that kill any thriller.