There were two main reasons to see ‘Roadkill’, the British miniseries that we can see in Movistar +. The first is to have David Hare in the script, whose ‘Collateral’ seems to me one of the most polyhedral political dramas of recent times.
The second is to have the always reliable Hugh Laurie (whom we had already seen as political sagacious in ‘Veep‘), whose interpretive calm and grave voice united with his presence is sufficient claim. In fact, the actor is the first one we see in this four-episode series. His character leaving the courts after having won a trial for libel whose lawyer is convinced that he is guilty.
Peter Laurence is a charismatic beast (a la Boris Johnson) and everyone takes for granted that is the future of the British Conservative party, which makes him the target of all kinds of attacks both from outside and from within his party. What is clear to us from the start is that Laurence is not a clean wheat and has worked hard to compartmentalize his life, interests and ambitions.
But neither does Hare present this minister to us as someone shady and rotten who would never want to rule our country. No. This is not a good and bad story, of ethics in politics and of obvious corruption and embezzlement. The script is interested in seeing what is behind someone like him. The person, not the character.
Laurie’s performance achieves that effect every time. You can be well-intentioned, everything populist in the world, destructive and toxic, or simply an ambitious politician who sometimes goes overboard. This ambiguous reading remains in the eyes of the viewer thanks to the fact that the protagonist, as in real life, has many of those nuances and takes advantage of the fact that good and evil are in the eyes of the beholder.
‘Roadkill’ is by no means a political thriller. It is a drama that with long doses of melancholy presents a few weeks in particular in the life of this politician, his rivalry with the Prime Minister (Helen McCrory), his relationship with his distant wife (Saskia Reeves) and his daughters (Millie Brady and Ophelia Lovibond).
Despite the fact that the premise – the discovery that he has an illegitimate daughter and the political struggles – he made the shots intuit where he could go, the result is, of course, not predictable. And it’s about the best we can say about the series. Everything is there, but the scriptwriter never manages to fulfill the expectations generated.
The result is that ‘Roadkill’ ends up being a pointless drama whose gaze at the politician, no matter how realistic and polyhedral he tries to be, remains much colder than it should be.