Stream-It Saturday: Rectify
I'm always digging around Netflix looking for shows that my husband and I will enjoy watching together. I know it's hard to believe, but he's really not up for yet another re-watch of Friday Night Lights. (I know, I know...)
One of our recent finds is the unusual and captivating Rectify, a six-episode show on the Sundance Channel, now streaming on Netflix.
Rectify follows Daniel Holden, who's been released from prison after 19 years on death row, for six days following his return to his Georgia hometown. His conviction was vacated due to DNA evidence--which is a critical distinction from exoneration. His conviction wasn't overturned, instead, it was dismissed, meaning that he could theoretically be tried for rape and murder again.
However, guilt or innocence isn't the focus of Rectify.
We don't know if Daniel is innocent or guilty, instead, the series focusses on his, his family's and town's adjustment to his return. The adjustment isn't easy for anyone, particularly Daniel's sister, Amantha, who always believed in his innocence, even after his (possibly coerced) confession as a teenager.
There are also glimpses of Daniel's prison life, including his friendship with the condemned prisoner in the adjacent cell. (This is probably my favorite storyline--one my husband and I have discussed at length because it's so compelling and thought-provoking.)
Rectify unfolds slowly, almost in a dream state.
The camerawork makes great use of lens flare, sweeping angles and soft-focus light, which makes it even dreamier and creates a true contemporary Southern Gothic vibe. If you want to dig in, you'll also find lots of intriguing use of imagery, especially religious imagery, that really make me want to re-watch this show sooner rather than later.
Rectify is coming back for a ten-episode season this summer, but the six episodes of the first season feel like a complete story, which is rather refreshing. Similarly, each episode is a complete story-arc as well. It's more like a British mini-series like Luther than typical American programming. I'd love to see more television built this way.
Note: This is definitely grown-up programming. It's a Sundance show, so be aware that if you're sensitive to language and the like (which is totally okay--no judgement), proceed with caution.