An outsider stranded in an isolated community with weird and sometimes malignant people and strange customs is something we have seen before. Secluded regions in fiction are often home to murderous cults which the protagonists become part of, and horrible things happen to them. Ari Aster’s Midsommar is a good recent example. HBO’s miniseries The Third Day is an effective mystery that rises above its premise’s trappings largely due to Jude Law’s superlative performance, capable direction and cinematography.The first episode of The Third Day finds Law’s Sam going deep into the forest and crying with ragged sobs in what appears to be a ritual of grief about something that happened long ago. He encounters a girl trying to kill herself by a noose hung from an overhanging branch. He rescues her in time and takes her to her home: the creepy place in question called Osea Island. HBO’s miniseries The Third Day is an effective mystery that rises above its premise’s trappings largely due to Jude Law’s superlative performance, capable direction and cinematographyThe episode hammers home the weirdness of the place pretty soon by way of shots of a strange festival through Sam’s perspective. We are then introduced to inhabitants of the place, who seem well-meaning and generally nice if a little eccentric. We all know where this is going, don’t we?As I said earlier, so far there is little that we have not already seen before. But Jude Law makes it work. The role requires a lot of emoting on Law’s part, and he does a great job. The director uses a lot of close-up shots and we are shown the harried lines and sunken eyes of a man who has been through a lot of late. If he was confused before, Osea Island only makes it worse. If I mention the details, I will ruin the fun of watching the episode. Just know that the old place is not, by any definition of the word, normal. The cinematography is another impressive thing about The Third Day. At times, it will take your breath away. I am sure the location was very pretty as well, but Benjamin Kracun, who has cranked the camera, makes it even more stunning. The Third Day looks like a compulsively watchable mystery series, despite its cliches.