Watch Black Bird
- 1 Season
Black Bird is a captivating six-episode limited series on Apple TV+ that draws inspiration from a true story of a fallen hero's path to redemption and freedom. Developed by Dennis Lehane, the show tells the story of James "Jimmy" Keene, a once-promising football player who falls into a life of drugs, women, and armed weapons, leading to his arrest and a ten-year prison sentence. At its core, Black Bird is a character-driven drama that explores the psyche of a man trying to redeem himself. The show's plot takes a while to unfold, but it's worth the wait. Taron Egerton's performance as Keene is compelling, and he brings depth to his character's struggles. Egerton's portrayal of Keene is realistic, and the audience can empathize with his character's challenges. Paul Walter Hauser's portrayal of Larry Hall, the inmate suspected of killing over 14 women, is equally impressive. Hauser's body language and unique ticks give Hall a constant air of discomfort on-screen, making him a menacing presence. The show's pacing is slow but steady, allowing the audience to dive deep into the characters' psyche. The show's establishment of the plot might seem slow and boring, but it's necessary to set the stage for the rest of the story. However, the show's attempt to embody the academic nature of Mindhunter falls short of realizing its full potential. While the show opens up multiple avenues to address issues of patriarchy and misogyny that plague most serial killers, these plot points remain mere footnotes. Black Bird attempts to address the larger structural issues that plague prisons in America, like the industrial-prison complex or the racial divide that exists within the walls of a prison. Black Bird is a well-made thriller that will appeal to fans of Mindhunter. The production quality of the series is impressive, with crisp sound and hushed tones. The color grading is reminiscent of Fincher's Mindhunter, and the show's overall aesthetic is pleasing to the eye. If you're a Mindhunter fan who hasn't gotten over not getting a third season of your favorite show, Black Bird can provide some much-needed closure. The series is also a fitting farewell to Ray Liotta, who essays the role of Big Jim, Jimmy's father, on-screen. Liotta's performance as Big Jim is poignant and moving, and it's one of the main reasons why Jimmy fights for his freedom. Big Jim is a frail old man recovering from his stroke, forced to reckon with the idea of morality and the legacy he leaves behind in his son. Knowing that this was the last role Liotta played makes the musing of Big Jim on-screen even more effective. The show's most significant strength is its portrayal of the complicated relationship between Jimmy and Larry. Sepideh Moafi's FBI agent Lauren McCauley offers Jimmy his freedom in exchange for a favor, and Jimmy is to move to a maximum-security prison whose inmates are deemed criminally insane and get a confession out of Larry Hall. McCauley believes that Jimmy's charm, coupled with his intelligence and childhood experiences, will aid him in befriending Hall and eliciting a confession. What follows is a complex game of cat and mouse, as Jimmy tries to gain Hall's trust while also trying to maintain his own sanity. Taron Egerton and Paul Walter Hauser's performances together are magnetic, and the duo is so adept at working off 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, and they create an intense, engaging dynamic that keeps us hooked.