Succession Season 2 [10/10]

Transfixed … that’s a state I rarely enter into even with the best of movies but every one of the ten episodes of the second season of “Succession” pinned me to the screen. A Shakespearian mortality tale riffing on the Murdoch clan, this season covers the battle for survival of the media empire of Logan Roy. Venal and almost amoral, Roy’s clan of himself, his four children and all their partners could have been an unsavoury shitstorm but the quality of the screenplay subsumes any simple judgements. Brian Cox is transcendent in the role of Logan Roy, and his progeny are perfectly cast and interpreted: Jeremy Strong as the damaged, complex Kendall; Kieran Culkin as sneery, quicksilver Roman; Sarah Snook as ruthless, ambitious Shiv, and Alan Ruck as avuncular, shallow Connor. A special mention goes to the blistering performance of Matthew Macfadyen as unctuous, smiling Tom. Created by Jesse Armstrong and brilliantly sculpted by a bevy of directors, with a sublime score from Nicholas Britell, the episodes capture the high end of modern capitalism in all its glory and decadence. Yet although foulness pervades every scene, somehow we come to see the humanity behind each damaged individual, with only Logan Roy looming as an explosive, inscrutable Genghis Khan figure. Many times during the viewing, I was seized by an almost nostalgic surge of recognition for how modern corporate culture plays out. Mandatory viewing.

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