Without spoiling too much, Stephen King’s The Outsider begins as a compelling legal thriller about a man accused of the murder of a young boy. There’s a ton of evidence tying him to the murder, but there’s just one problem: He was 60 miles away when the murder was committed, and not only is there video footage, but there’s a number of eyewitnesses who give him a rock-solid alibi.
As a legal thriller, it’s compelling as hell, trying to noodle out how this man managed to commit a murder while he was 60 miles away. And then Stephen King Stephen Kings it. Oh yeah, you remember! This is not a page-turning legal thriller about a guy who somehow managed to get away with a murder. It’s a Stephen King novel, which means there are going to be Stephen King elements involved. They’re not narrative cheats, exactly. It’s just that if you’re Stephen King, and you write yourself into a corner, all you have to do is make up a ghost to get out of it. Ta da!
It’s frustrating if only because King still can write the hell out of characters, which is probably why The Outsider attracted Jason Bateman, Ben Mendelsohn, Cynthia Erivo, and Paddy Considine to the cast. It’s just too bad about the whole “Stephen King” thing.
I’m still gonna watch the hell out of it when it debuts on HBO next year.
Header Image Source: HBO