CBS Television Studios, 2021
Peter Moffat et al
📷 : Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash
Suspenseful and intense thrillers
Movies and TV shows that make you laugh, or involve urgency, like chase scenes or other physical activity
The ten-part series epitomizes irony and hypocrisy at every turn. Starring Bryan Cranston as Judge Michael Desiato, the story chronicles the pangs of a desperate father trying to protect his teenage son from a New Orleans mob family. Aesthetically, the show hits on all cylinders as it takes us to what is now a balkanized city, particularly so since Hurricane Katrina.
Affluent areas are completely restored since the disaster and urban centers are active. But poor residential areas are desolate, containing numerous vacant buildings with decades-old signs, and homes appearing worn and barely touched with a nail and hammer since the waters receded. As for lived experiences, wealthy people own well-to-do hotels and live in sprawling mansions. The professional, middle-class live in newly constructed brick buildings with modern interiors, and poor people live in “shot-gun houses.” Intrigued?
A decades-long career on the bench where he is both considered and referred to as honorable, Judge Desiato tramples on the very meaning of honor to protect his son. Apart from the first two segments though, I left each installment vexed. At 18 years old, the judge’s son, Adam, played by Hunter Doohan (Truth Be Told, Schooled), repeatedly puts himself at risk despite his father’s extreme efforts to protect him. Also, not only is the mobster, played by Michael Stuhlbarg (Shirley, Traitors), not scary, but it never became clear how he ‘earns’ his ill-gotten gains. The dynamic with his wife, played by Hope Davis (For the People, Love Life), makes his character even more problematic.
Villains should be scary, not just present a stern face. The latter usually works with parents, but we generally know they will back it up with action. This doesn’t work with villains in dramatic cinema. They need to show the audience what they are capable of doing, how far they will go to get what they want. In other words, they need to do something.
Your Honor reminded me of Bad Boys II. In it, the villain was not scary; he was random and engaged in silly, over-the-top things that did nothing more than disrespect the audience and call attention to himself. Good dramatic villains do not want to call attention to themselves. Remember Denzel Washington’s character in American Gangster? He was livid that the new coat his girlfriend gave him as a gift called attention to him. As for action, he beat up his own brother! And the first Bad Boys movie? That one also had a good villain.
Your Honor could certainly be your cup of tea though if a formidable villain is not needed to draw you into a dramatic story. It might also be for you if you don’t mind characters that frustrate you, particularly if they move the story along or if their actions seem to be in line with the writer’s intent. However, if your aesthetic tastes do not align with these or you are not in the mood for it, perhaps you might do better to consider something a little different for now.