REVIEW: AMC’s Rectify is an intelligent contemplation of human existence
An intellectually stimulating study on what it means to exist as an outsider, AMC brings seasons 1-3 of Rectify to UK audiences.
Daniel Holden has spent over half his life waiting to die, but this is all about to change as his wait comes to a sudden and unexpected end. After nearly 20 years on Death Row for the alleged rape and murder of his teenage girlfriend, Daniel’s conviction is vacated due to new DNA evidence and the persistence of his lawyer, Jon Stern, and his sister, Amantha.
However, Daniel’s new-found freedom is more of a burden than he could have ever imagined. Having lived most of his life in isolation, he must now return to his hometown of Paulie, Georgia, and attempt to reconnect with a family, community and world that he no longer understands.
Daniel’s unforeseen release throws his families’ town into a state of utter disharmony. Now, all the people formerly connected to his case must deal with Daniel’s reemergence back into the community, including the prosecutor who rode the notoriety to become a State Senator, the Sheriff who pushed the boundaries of the investigation, and all the inhabitants of Paulie who labelled Daniel as guilty for killing one of their own.
Of course, not everyone is convinced of Daniel’s innocence and his release divides the community as the mystery is reignited. The reliability and validity of the justice system, the town authorities and Daniel himself are all thrown into question.
From the producers of Breaking Bad, Rectify is written and created by Ray McKinnon and stars Aden Young, Abigail Spencer, J. Smith-Cameron, Adelaide Clemens, Clayne Crawford, and Luke Kirby. The series engrosses you from the very get go as it contemplates the implications of what it would mean to exist as an outsider for 19 years, intelligently tackling issues of identity and the questionable justice system in America.
Rectify gives its audience the type of character insight you would expect from a novel, rather than a TV show. It takes its time, focussing heavily on Daniel’s thought processes and the awkward dynamic amongst his reconnected family instead of pushing for plot twists. The simplicity of plot and pauses in pace allow for greater exploration of bigger topics including morality and religion. The result is a programme that is seriously contemplative and thought-provoking.
Aden Young is mesmerising as Daniel, a man completely removed from any sense of time and space. His character exhibits a disturbing detachment, yet retains a sense of awe and wonder as he rediscovers what it is to be truly alive after living most of his days with death hanging over his head.
Rectify (seasons 1-3) airs Monday to Fridays at 8pm on AMC.