‘Black Bird’ review: A gripping tale of a bargain for freedom and a fitting farewell to Ray Liotta

If you’re a ‘Mindhunter’ fan who still can’t get over not getting a third season of your favorite show, ‘Black Bird’ can provide some much-needed closure.

If you’re a ‘Mindhunter’ fan who still can’t get over not getting a third season of your favorite show, ‘Black Bird’ can provide some much-needed closure.

Black bird is the story of James Keene, a fallen hero and his path to redemption and freedom. The six-episode limited series is inspired by a true story and is dramatized to suit our senses.

The Apple TV+ series, like many of its predecessors in the genre, attempts to bring audiences closer to the psyche of a serial killer. However, it is not veteran FBI agents who take us to the “criminally insane” cells.

James “Jimmy” Keene (Taron Egerton) was destined for greatness as a teenager; a star football player with scholarships to elite colleges. Until all his dreams come crashing down when he’s drawn into the world of drugs and guns. Little Jimmy stumbles and falls off the rails and becomes the stereotypical American bad boy who sleeps with women, sells drugs and stores guns in his house. Jimmy’s leisurely days come to an end when his apartment is raided and he is found in possession of drugs and weapons. He pleaded guilty to the charges against him and was sentenced to ten years in prison.

However, FBI agent Lauren McCauley (Sepideh Moafi) offers Jimmy his freedom in exchange for a favor; Jimmy must move to a maximum-security prison — whose inmates are considered criminally insane — and get a confession from Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser), an inmate suspected of killing more than 14 women whose bodies have never been found. not been discovered. McCauley chooses Jimmy for the job because she thinks his charm coupled with his intelligence and childhood experiences will help him befriend Hall and get a confession.

It takes about an episode and a half to set the stage and indicate the music for the actors to dance to, and the plot build-up might even feel slow and boring…but steady yourself for the long haul, because it’s all worth it. worth the wait.

Black bird

Developed By: Dennis Lehane

With: Taron Egerton, Paul Walter Hauser, Sepideh Moafi, Greg Kinnear, Ray Liotta

Number of episodes: 6

Storyline: Based on a true story, as Jimmy Keene begins a 10-year prison sentence, he receives an incredible offer: if he can get a confession from alleged killer Larry Hall, Jimmy will be freed

Taron Egerton as James “Jimmy” Keene and Paul Walter Hauser as Larry Hall are magnetic in their scenes together. The duo are so adept at working on each other’s energies on screen, that watching them act is like watching a well-choreographed ballet. Their performances transcend the bars of their cells to suck us in; Hauser, especially with his body language and the unique ticks he gives Hall, creates a constant air of discomfort on screen.

While the show opens up multiple avenues to address the issues of patriarchy and misogyny that plague most serial killers, these plot points remain mere footnotes. Black bird attempts to embody the academic nature of spirit hunter, but it never really manages to realize its full potential, wandering off course and becoming just another well-made thriller.

The show also fails to address the larger structural issues plaguing American prisons, like the prisoner-industrial complex or the racial divide that exists within prison walls, and which is sometimes painfully microscopic. .

However, the production of the series is clean with crisp sound and muted tones. Color grading is reminiscent of Fincher’s Mind hunter. If you are a spirit hunter fan who still hasn’t recovered from not being entitled to a third season of your favorite show, Black bird can provide much needed closure.

And finally, the show is a fitting farewell to Ray Liotta trying out the role of Big Jim – Jimmy’s father – on screen. Big Jim is a frail old man recovering from his stroke, forced to consider the idea of ​​morality and the legacy he leaves for his son. He’s one of the main reasons Jimmy fights for his freedom. Knowing that these are Liotta’s final roles makes Big Jim’s on-screen daydream even more effective.

Black Bird is currently streaming on Apple TV+

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