By putting Rectify under the “I Will Watch Anything” banner, I do not mean to imply the Sundance channel drama is bad, or that, as my friend Molly assumed from the title, “it’s like Justified, but about butts.” For someone as ADD as I am, however—I have been known to watch TV, play solitaire on my phone, and keep an eye on MLB Gameday on my iPad, all at once—the glacially-paced Rectify, which has featured a long scene of a man just looking through a trunk in an attic while listening to Cracker on his old walkman, is a hard slog.
It’s not that the pace is unearned; Rectify is about the Holden family, specifically the oldest son, Daniel (Aden Young, who must be the only real-life Aden I’ve ever heard of over the age of five), who’s just been released from death row due to new DNA evidence. Even so, he’s not totally exonerated by the evidence, nor his is innocence obvious to the viewer, which makes his homecoming even more tense and bittersweet than it would normally be for a man after 20 years of imprisonment.
The show seems to be very much from Daniel’s perspective, or at least structured and filmed in the way that someone who’s been in a cell for two decades would observe the world, so it makes sense that it moves at such a careful, half-speed. Aden himself speaks so haltingly, and with a voice so low, he sounds and moves like later-day Johnny Cash. But it’s not like there’s not a lot of story to tell—the show has a lot of interesting characters, like Daniel’s sister, the oddly named Amantha (Abigail Spencer from Burning Love), and there’s the whole issue of whether Daniel really raped and murdered his girlfriend or not—but some episodes of the show seem to pass with all the eventfulness of a haiku. When my friend missed an episode and asked her husband what she missed, she had trouble believing his recap, which was, Daniel tore up a pillow and played with the feathers for a while, his sister talked to the lawyer by a river, and also, Daniel rode a bicycle in circles.
I realized that he had about summed it up, then wondered if should try to add watching a movie on my computer to the Rectify TV/phone/iPad/experience. At this point, I’m invested enough to stick with it, but I do wish they could have more action involving the murder case and fewer minutes dedicated to showing feathers in the sunlight.