Sophie: A Murder in West Cork shines a light on the tragic death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, a wife and mother tragically found dead in Ireland.
On the eve of Christmas 1996, the tiny Irish town of Schull, County Cork was rocked by the discovery of her body. She was just 39 years old at the time.
But the story that follows is just as bizarre and frustrating, with Irish and French police fighting for answers.
In the 25 years that have passed, only one major suspect has emerged: Ian Bailey, a slightly odd behaving journalist who lives nearby, and was also one of the first on the scene.
While he has always maintained his innocence, there are plenty who believe he played more than just the role of snooping reporter. Over time, he became the story.
There are even people who claim he confessed to them – something he passes off as ‘dark humour’.
He’s a strange fellow, with a history of violence towards women, some unique poetry, and an uneven alibi. But does that make him a killer?
Through interviews with Sophie’s loved ones, as well as locals, stories begin to fall apart. It becomes frustrating when it’s difficult to know who’s telling the truth. That’s probably the point of this three-episode series.
In an unfortunate twist for Netflix, Sky Crime also has a five-part series on this case, released at the exact same time.
But Sophie: A Murder In West Cork has something the other series doesn’t – the involvement of Sophie’s son, Pierre. But they don’t use his insight and thought nearly enough.
The series often feels like a grazing look into the case, with a lot of conjecture brought in by locals who met Sophie in a pub once, or don’t like Bailey.
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Bailey gets the most screen time in this series. There to give a rebuttal to every piece of circumstantial evidence against him. You can understand why, as after 25 years he’s still the key suspect, but there’s even moments where everything feels too conveniently swept away.
This series does not provide answers, rather an overview of what could have happened. It should have maybe dug a little deeper.
Is Sophie: A Murder in West Cork worth a watch?
Sophie: A Murder in West Cork is a good general overview of the investigation but misses one important factor. That’s Sophie herself.
While Ian Bailey certainly makes quite a fascinating central character, he should really be a side player, not the main event.
As a result, Sophie’s son and family are somewhat relegated to the sidelines, popping in for talking heads but that’s it.
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We learn very little about the woman whose life was lost in the process.
There’s also some gloss over some of the darker aspects of the story, making it a somewhat frustrating watch.
The film could have done with being an episode or two longer so we got a deeper, more well-rounded look at the investigation.
But sadly, it kind of falls short.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Sophie: A Murder in West Cork launches June 30th on Netflix.
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