(CNN)Although loosely adapted from manager Ingmar Bergman's 1973 Swedish miniseries, "Scenes From a Marriage" bears a adjacent resemblance successful benignant and code to "In Treatment," different HBO bid dreamt up by Israeli shaper Hagai Levi, who presides implicit this. Claustrophobic and intense, the format provides a beardown actor's showcase for Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac but a little satisfying acquisition for viewers.
The five-part bid employs an absorbing and somewhat puzzling device, successful each occurrence showing the actors earlier filming begins nether Covid protocols, walking done the acceptable surrounded by masked unit members. It's a mode of establishing the theatrical qualities of the presentation, though speech from appreciating the other grade of difficulty, fundamentally an unnecessary device.
The premiere past proceeds to present Mira (Chastain) and Jonathan (Isaac), joined for astir a decennary with a young daughter.
The instauration comes by mode of an interrogation with a grad pupil moving connected her thesis, exposing tensions wrong the matrimony contempt their seemingly outward happiness. He's an world who has lapsed successful strict adherence to his Jewish faith, portion she's a palmy businesswoman whose vocation -- much lucrative than his -- has taken precedence implicit his.
Levi importantly contemporizes the plot, but the strains and stresses associated with sustaining a matrimony -- and perchance ending 1 -- are each connected display, arsenic accusation drips retired astir the narration and the details down Mira's half-spoken sentences and pained expressions.
The performances are earthy and starkly presented. In sports terms, Isaac and Chastain permission it each connected the tract -- and did their portion to beforehand the amusement with a viral red-carpet infinitesimal at the Venice Film Festival -- successful what is fundamentally a two-character portion with a fewer cameos, specified arsenic Corey Stoll and Nicole Beharie arsenic different mates (with their ain important issues) that comes implicit for dinner.
Where "Scenes From a Marriage" falters passim is successful the chaotic quality of the swings successful Mira and Jonathan's interactions and behavior, making hairpin turns from civilian to hostile to intersexual and backmost again. It's hard to get mislaid successful the play erstwhile the dialog and situations are this stagy and manicured.
Like HBO's caller revival of "In Treatment," the confined enactment and minimal formed makes this a peculiarly shrewd summation to the lineup strictly arsenic a logistical matter, 1 that includes Bergman's son, manager Daniel Bergman, among the enforcement producers on with the 2 stars.
Still, the art-house credentials of the sanction aside, "Scenes From a Marriage" has the conspicuous consciousness of 1 of those vanity projects successful which premium networks and streaming services let endowment to indulge, with the marquee worth of the casting much than capable to warrant the dice roll.
At its halfway the bid offers the not-quite-revelatory reminder that matrimony tin beryllium hard and unraveling 1 tends to beryllium adjacent harder, particularly erstwhile children are involved.
Nevertheless, it's imaginable to respect the artistry and hard enactment that went into this accumulation without feeling genuinely engaged by it, either emotionally oregon intellectually. In that sense, the "We're conscionable putting connected a show" framing mightiness person served a purpose, though not needfully successful the mode intended.
"Scenes From a Marriage" premieres Sept. 12 astatine 9 p.m. ET connected HBO, which, similar CNN, is simply a portion of WarnerMedia.