Black Bird opens by referencing “the butterfly effect”, in which there are things you don’t think are connected, but they actually are.
In voiceover, Jimmy Keene (Taron Egerton – The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance) he references a young girl who he never knew or met, who cycled around on her bike, before it moves to seeing him live his own life in 1996 watching American Football with his friends, and then focusing on the moments in life where things go sideways. Oh, I know that moment!
Following a situation that will play out before you, Jimmy is arrested for having illegal weapons and a stack drugs in his house which he’s dealing. Based on what his father, plaed by the late, great Ray Liotta (Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For), knows from 23 years as a cop, even if Jimmy pleas guilty, he’ll have to do his time, which could be as much as five years.. but it ends up being a fair bit longer. D’oh!
But then after a few months inside, during which he makes a few quid with a sideline of renting out dodgy magazines, what feels originally like familiar gangster territory, given the presence of Mr Liotta, Jimmy gets an offer he can’t refuse… Enter Special Agent Lauren McCauley (Sepideh Moafi), who need him to help get a worse convict, who resides at a maximum security prison to spill the beans on where he’s hidden many bodies. If Jimmy will do it, he’s free to leave.
Will he do it? Well, it would be a short series if he didn’t.
Then time goes back 4 years to 1993, where the body of Jessica Roach has been found – the girl referenced from earlier. Cop Brian Miller (Greg Kinnear) is looking into it with a suspect in mind, namely Larry D Hall (Paul Walter Hauser), who owns a van and apparently kept harrassing some girls, yet other cops think he’s just a harmless dimwit. Who’s right?
Either way, the main aspect of this task reminds me of the two-season US drama, Breakout Kings, where a trio of convicts were offered the chance to take down bigger fish. For each one they manage, they get a month shaved off their large sentences. Shame it didn’t last longer as it was great.
For the main cast, Taron Egerton is surprisingly good in this, making up for the awful Kingsman films and Eddie the Eagle, and has certainly been working out in the gym for this, also. Or they’ve photoshopped my abs onto his… (ahem). There’s also good support from Ray Liotta as his father, and so it’s nice to see him in what may be his final role.
So far, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen, and I’ll certainly check out more to see how the story develops.
Oh, and amongst the ’90s tunes featured, episode 2 also includes The The’s Dogs of Lust.
Black Bird is on Apple TV+ from Friday July 8th, but isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD. Two episodes are available at launch. then the rest are added weekly.
Check out the trailer below:
Running time: 60 mins per episode (6 episodes)
Release date: July 8th 2022
Studio: Apple TV+
Series Directors: Michaël R Roskam, Joe Chappelle, Jim McKay
Teleplay: Dennis Lehane
Based on a memoir by: James Keene, Hillel Levin
Jimmy Keene: Taron Egerton
Big Jim Keene: Ray Liotta
Larry Hall: Paul Walter Hauser
Brian Miller: Greg Kinnear
Lauren McCauley: Sepideh Moafi
Sheriff Hartshorne: Robert Diago DoQui
Co Carter: Joe Williamson
Spartak: Alexander Babara
Rochelle: Cecilia Leal
Mrs. Roach: Rachel Whitman Groves
Stoned Prisoner: Lawrence Turner
Jessica Roach: Laney Stiebing
Court Runner: Joshua Moody
CO Holt: Trazi Lashawn
Donny: Jeff Robins
CO Burden: John Jabaley
Gary Hall: Jake McLaughlin
Dr. Aaron Zicherman: Christopher B Duncan
Robert Hall: Charles Green
CO Charlie: Brandon Morales
Judge Wood: Kwajalyn Brown
Roger Nevins: Lee Tergesen
Strack: Ryan Broussard
Teenage Jimmy Keene: Braxton Alexander
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.