The Luminaries viewers slam 'awful' lighting and 'bewildering' plot

‘First you couldn’t hear anything and now you can’t see anything!’ Even Bono’s daughter can’t save BBC’s The Luminaries as viewers slam show’s dim lighting and mumbling cast

  • The Luminaries viewers have complained about the show’s lighting and sound
  • The BBC series launched on Sunday night with an audience of 5.3 million
  • The drama is an adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s 2013 Booker-winning novel
  • The Luminaries stars Bono’s daughter Eve Hewson, Eva Green and Himesh Patel

Viewers of new BBC series The Luminaries have slammed the show’s bewildering’ plot, complaining that they can’t see or hear anything due to ‘awful’ lighting and a ‘mumbling’ cast. 

The miniseries launched on Sunday night and was watched by an audience of 5.3 million, but they were quick to voice their disdain on Twitter afterwards. 

The drama is an adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s 2013 Booker-winning novel of the same name, and stars the likes of Eve Hewson, Eva Green and Himesh Patel. 

Hard to watch: Viewers of new BBC series The Luminaries – starring Eve Hewson – have slammed the show’s ‘awful’ lighting and ‘bewildering’ plot

Set in New Zealand at the height of the 1860s gold rush, Dublin-born actress Eve, 28 – who is the daughter of U2 frontman Bono and and his wife, activist Ali Hewson – plays Anna Wetherell – a young woman who sails to the country from Britain in 1965 to begin a new life.

She is taken under the wing of a brothel owner Lydia Wells, played by Eva Green, and takes a romantic interest in fellow passenger, Emery Stains, played by Himesh Patel.

The storyline is intricately woven with another set nine months later – which sees a murder investigation after a body is discovered in a hut alongside a woman passed out after taking opium. 

Popular: The drama is an adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s 2013 Booker-winning novel of the same name, and stars the likes of Eve Hewson, Eva Green (pictured) and Himesh Patel

However, several viewers complained that they weren’t able to understand the plot, as they couldn’t see what was going on.  

Taking to Twitter in their droves, viewers penned: ‘The Luminaries BBC 1 intriguing and beautifully shot but anybody know what the hell is going on ???? 

‘I’m gonna put this out there.. I’ve not got a Feckin Clue What’s Actually going on!! #TheLuminaries’; ‘Giving #TheLuminaries a go, but it’s looking dreadfully like one of those series where it’s perpetually dark and I can’t actually see anything that’s happening!’

‘Is the book as weird and confusing as this BBC adaptation ?? #TheLuminaries’; ‘Is it really a new BBC show if there aren’t people all over Twitter complaining that they don’t understand what’s going on? #TheLuminaries [sic]’. 

Adaptation: Set in New Zealand at the height of the 1860s gold rush, Eve plays Anna Wetherell – a young woman who sails to the country from Britain in 1965 to begin a new life

Confused: Several viewers complained that they weren’t able to understand the plot, as they couldn’t see what was going on

‘Need to turn brightness up on tv. Haven’t a clue what’s going on #TheLuminaries’; ‘What was the matter with sound quality in #TheLuminaries? It sounded as though everybody had bags on their heads. Made it even harder to follow a plot that changed direction so often. Miss a second and whoops! Lost! 

‘Thank you BBC for making the opening few minutes of The Luminaries so dark it’s impossible to work out what’s going on. Fingers crossed it gets better 

I’ll stick with it but I’m getting bored with muddled time-lines (can’t we just have a beginning, middle and end) and awful lighting. #TheLuminaries’;

‘I was left disappointed+underwhelmed.All the expense of a lavish production,but a heavily convoluted plot+a lack of relatability makes this series highly forgettable.Eve Hewson did her best, but once you think she looks like Emily Blunt’s Sister, you just wish it was Emily Blunt.’

‘Beautiful costumes and setting. Bewildering plot and not found affinity for any characters yet. I sold it to my family as Poldark- esque. We were not gripped and it was humorless and I missold it.’

Talking point: The miniseries launched on Sunday night and was watched by an audience of 5.3 million, but they were quick to voice their thoughts on Twitter afterwards

Atmospheric: There was some support for the drama, however, with some viewers praising the beautifully shot scenes and tense plot 

There was some support for the drama, however, with viewers penning: ‘Well I enjoyed the #Luminaries and I’ll watch again. Atmospheric and mysterious. I hadn’t much clue what was going on but the lighting and costumes and acting were gorgeous to watch’;

‘The Luminaries: Warm reviews, but was it (literally) too dark? Not for me. I thought it was visually stunning. Now’t wrong with it on my LG TV.’

Director Claire McCarthy, previously said about the lighting: ‘The colour palette is more gothic and grounded in the shadows. We wanted a sense of mystery and intrigue and a kind of burnished golden world inside the interiors.  

‘We were trying to inhabit the kind of world and the resources that they would have at that time so we were embraced that as a visual aesthetic. 

‘We wanted there to be a visceral quality to the show, rather than it to feel typically period or dusty, and so there needed to be an energy and a dynamism to the way the camera captured the world.’

Racy: Among the dimly-lit scenes in the opening episode was a raunchy part starring Eve, who was seen romping with another woman’s husband

Among the dimly-lit scenes in the opening episode was a raunchy part starring Eve, who was seen romping with another woman’s husband. 

The actress – who plays an Irish prostitute in the series – was filmed having sex on a beach in the racy scenes.  

The screen star made her acting debut in 2005 alongside her sister Jordan in the short film Lost and Found.

She has also appeared in The 27 Club in 2008, Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies and more recently starred in 2018 action-adventure film Robin Hood as Marion – the protagonist’s love interest and girlfriend of Will Tillman.  

Time to catch up: The Luminaries continues on Sunday at 9pm on BBC One

Speaking to Radio Times about landing the roles, Eve admitted that having a famous father in Bono helped open doors for her. 

She confessed: ‘That’s never been a problem for me, and I think that’s because of my family.

‘That’s not the way the system should work, of course, but if the door is open, walk through the door.

‘It can then become a bit of a hindrance, because they can’t separate you from your father or see you as an individual.

‘Often, they have very low expectations, and they really don’t think you’re going to be good. And then you are quite good, and they are quite surprised.’   

The Luminaries continues on Sunday at 9pm on BBC One 

 

The Lumanaries review by Daily Mail’s Claudia Connell 

Rating:

Flashback, as a method of bridging time and filling the viewer in on a narrative, can be a highly effective method in film.

If overused though, it can be frustrating, confusing and downright annoying.

In new BBC drama The Luminaries, the time-jump trick was constantly employed to the point where it started to fry your brain.

The first of six episodes opened with Anna Wetherell (played by Eve Hewson) running along a beach in the dead of night. 

Her clothes were in rags, a man lay dead, and what appeared to be liquid gold, rather than blood, was oozing from her wounds.

Not a fan: In new BBC drama The Luminaries, the time-jump trick was constantly employed to the point where it started to fry your brain

Nine months prior to that, Anna, a bold Irish woman travelling alone to New Zealand to seek her fortune at the height of the gold rush, stood on the deck of a boat where she met prospector Emery Staines (Himesh Patel). He invited her to meet for a drink at his hotel after their arrival. She never showed.

Instead, she hurried to her own lodgings but on the way encountered Lydia Wells (Eva Green), a bewitching brothel owner and fortune teller who stole Anna’s purse knowing it would mean she had no choice but to work for her as a prostitute.

Based on the Man Booker Prize- winning novel, author Eleanor Catton adapted her work for TV and made drastic changes from what was a complicated, 832-page oeuvre divided into 12 parts and centred around signs of the zodiac and celestial charts.

If the plan was to make it easier to follow, then it failed. The mystery and mysticism that dominated the book had been chipped away but there was still too much unfathomable talk about ‘astral twins’ and ‘cosmic fingerprints’.

Hewson, as Anna, wasn’t called upon to do much more than stare and pout in the opening episode, and if Emery Staines really was — as we were led to believe — her astral twin, her soulmate and her destiny, then there was precious little chemistry between them in the one scene they shared.

The excitement of the gold rush, the dangerous characters it attracted and the hot, dusty, dirty towns they inhabited were all conveyed well.

Shot on location in New Zealand, the scenery was beautiful, it’s just a shame that the story was an unfathomable mess.

Confusing: Shot on location in New Zealand, the scenery was beautiful, it’s just a shame that the story was an unfathomable mess

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