Tuesday, August 22, 2017


11.22.63 although a mini-series is structured a very long film. It is not about episodes, but a single multi-faceted story though at its core it is that essential fascinating question of going back in time to change history. This series taking on the idea of saving Kennedy from assassination. Now with television you can almost take things for granted now but it is outstanding how impressive this series is in a mere technical sense. It has a film level production, even though it is a television series, which is really essentially as it so effectively creates both the needed cinematic enhancement to the story, along with the creation of the 1950's/1960's setting. Now the series as it begins with that central idea which brings you right in through a particularly strong performance by Chris Cooper who sets up the time travel idea. The fun of the idea is realized and the series hooks you with that right away. Although that aspects remains fascinating and entertaining throughout it is not the only facet nor is that facet simplified. The idea of time is nothing slight whether it is the series way of showing it lashes back when one tries to change it, but the series goes further in pondering what that idea really means when acted upon. Again but a facet as it also takes the idea of being a person in this different life through the story of hero Jake as portrayed by James Franco in a career best performance. Franco, who I am not usually a fan of as an actor, brings an old-school charisma though with enough of a modern bent to essentially still be from the future. The series leads to is greatest surprise when it introduces the school teacher Sadie, played to perfection by Sarah Gadon, after Franco's Jake takes on a teaching job. A romance can so easily feel tacked on, especially in a story like this, but rather than being tacked on this is actually strongest aspect of a great series. Franco and Gadon share some of the best chemistry in recent memory and make their romance truly something special, and in the end truly something heartbreaking. The series manages to create such an investment in the story past the plot, which while never becomes secondary, everything else with it adds such a powerful weight to the quest. This leads to such a series of devastating and poignant moments in really every episode, from the opening story of a murder, to Jake's attempt to stop that murder, the revelation with the yellow card man and of course the final scene which is one of the most moving scenes in the history of television.

1 comment:

Calvin Law said...

This might actually be my favourite standalone miniseries of all-time. Great review :)