Thursday, March 18, 2010

Review: Justified

by Dave White

The F/X show JUSTIFIED premiered last night on F/X. It's the story of Raylen Givens, a US Marshal who is transferred back to his home state (and most likely city). He is immediately thrust into a case that involves people he knows (who have become Neo-Nazis).

It's a very good set-up, but as with all Elmore Leonard adaptations, what really sells it are two things: the characters and the dialogue they speak.

Givens (played by Timothy Olyphant) drops enough tough guy dialogue to give Bogart a run for his money. He plays it right, tough and sincere, making you fear him, but also know he's not as hard as granite. There's a caring side in him. He wears a stupid hat, dumber than what Givens wears in the text, but it works.

Also in the story are the typical Leonard bad guys. Hicks, dummies. Guys who are successful at crime, but so dumb, they don't know when they're funny. Which is--of course--what makes them funny.

There is plenty of atmosphere, noir, dialogue and tough guy action scenes to carry this story along. I cannot WAIT for the next episode.

I haven't been this excited for a series in a long time.

What did you think?


Eric said...

I'm not sure if it's just Deadwood nostalgia, but I really loved it.te

Chuck said...

I loved it, but I'll echo someone else's concern found on Twitter: so far, the only really solid characters are Raylan and Boyd.

Need better supporting characters, at present.

But otherwise, huge thumbs up. I'll keep watching.

-- c.

Chris said...

This pilot blew me away, and to be honest, I was pretty wary. Most times, some TV baddie sports a swastika tattoo, it's lazy shorthand in leiu of actually working to craft a nuanced character. Now, I know they pulled the pilot's plot directly from Leonard's short, but I worried they'd botch it nonetheless. Turns out (as Chuck said) Boyd was anything but stock.

They've definitely got me tuning in for the second ep. And if they stick the landing on that one, I'll be recording the season for sure.

Mike Dennis said...

I loved the pilot. The scenes between Olyphant and Groggins were positively riveting, and the smoldering sexuality underneath it all added a lot to the proceedings. I'm also looking forward to the unfolding story arc concerning Givens' father and the issues between the two of them.

However, I can't get away from the feeling that the series might run out of steam quickly. Harlan, Kentucky is a very small town, visually uninteresting, and beyond the redneck goons, racists, moonshiners, and the occasional drug runner, there's not much material to work with in terms of coming up with new challenges for Givens every week. I fear it could lapse into the TV-series trap of repetition, which of course is the kiss of death.