Melanie McFarland in Salon:
Some nightmares, the worst ones, move so slowly that you don’t wake up from them right away. The terror feels normal, even though you may know something’s not right. It’s a usual sort of bad feeling, typical enough to fool the mind into believing that you may be awake. That is, until the monster shows up. Only then does the brain recognize it is inside something that isn’t real. “Sharp Objects,” HBO’s latest limited series from “Dietland” creator Marti Noxon and Jean-Marc Vallée, and based on a novel by Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”), reproduces that sensation throughout the seven of its eight episodes that were provided for review.
…Flynn’s debut novel was published 12 years ago, and the mystery at its center could have been explored in any time and feel just as affecting. But if the vein of resentment and inwardly directed rage feels relevant to 2018, it’s because Flynn, Noxon and the series’ other writers are simply acknowledging that it has always been there. That said, “Sharp Objects” does not serve as a piece that speaks to the modern female insurgency in politics and culture as much as it states that a woman’s anger is evergreen, and not something to be ignored, chastised into complacence or medicated into invisibility. That the agency she gains as she matures into womanhood has value on its own. In the end, this is a story about control. Camille, a journalist for the St. Louis Chronicle, returns to the hometown she ran from to pursue a story about two missing girls, one her editor Curry (Miguel Sandoval) hopes may inspire prize-worthy coverage. And her presence agitates the place as much as the crime she’s looking into. Camille is an unwelcome bridge to a land the people of Wind Gap would rather not occupy, as much of an outsider as the Kansas City detective Richard Willis (Chris Messina) who comes in to investigate when girls start turning up dead. She’s an independent, unmarried woman in a “traditional” small Southern town.