TV Review: Sharp Objects “Vanish” S01E01 🗒️

Finally! A new Jean-Marc Vallée TV project that I’ve been patiently waiting for!


Credit: HBO

This post for Sharp Objects “Vanish” contains spoilers.

I can’t lie, but the only reason why I’m psyched for this series is because of Vallée; and also mainly because I’ve read the book by Gillian Flynn, and am excited to see what the pages are going to be like on screen. I’ve only been acquainted to Vallée’s work because of last year’s Big Little Lies. I’m stoked to see that he has worked with the same cinematographer Yves Bélanger for Sharp Objects—a series which involves a murder mystery in the quiet town of Wind Gap.

The film aesthetics in Sharp Objects is similar to Big Little Lies. The show utilises natural lighting, handheld camera movements, and diegetic music. Camille Preaker’s (Amy Adams) iPhone in Sharp Objects is used as the musical device for the show. As she drives her car around Wind Gap, diegetic music is constantly playing in the background. The music that Camille is listening to is very much in tune with her character; it was clearly a playlist of songs created by Vallée for the character.

This first episode titled “Vanish” (2018) was definitely a slow one. If I remember correctly, it follows the first few chapters of the book exactly; as it was accurate that Camille dreaded going back to her hometown to write a story about the murder of two young girls. The episode showed a lot of hidden messages; which allowed the audience to gain an insight into Camille’s mind.


“Last Exit to Change Your Mind.” Credit: HBO

There were multiple flashback scenes in “Vanish”, and at times I was confused at whether it was a flashback or the present because I wasn’t sure who Sophia Lillis (young Camille) was playing. I hadn’t done much research about the miniseries as I didn’t want to be spoilered. But towards the end of the episode, the flashback scene at Camille’s younger sister Marian’s (Lulu Wilson) funeral made it clear to me that the scenes with Lillis were all flashbacks.

It is evident in this episode that hidden words have a cryptic meaning and I hope it is something that they will explain later in the series. The final scene shows the episode title “Vanish” scarred onto Camille’s right arm, along with many other cuts of words on the same arm as well. I read the book so I know why they’re there. Having Camille drink alcohol in almost every scene of the episode establishes a lot about her character. From my understanding, it is very clear that she’s trying to hide away from something and the scars suggests a past where she self-inflicted wounds onto herself. “Vanish” suggests her struggles with existing in this world and I’m sure future episode will explore why and how she came to suffer from such issues.

Rating: 4/5

Sidenotes on “Vanish”:

  • The scene in the forest where they had a search party for the second victim; Chris Messina was wearing a shirt full of sweat. Kind of HOT, if you know what I mean.
  • I was looking out for Amma (Eliza Scanlen) throughout the episode, but missed her until they officially introduced her character to the show.
  • Knowing what will happen in the end makes it kind of creepy to watch this show… Seriously, read the book!
  • Absolutely loved how they named the episode “Vanish”, and revealed the title at the end.


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