Black Bird Movie Review and Movie Summary (2022)
Lehane adapts the non-fiction book In With the Devil: A Fallen Hero, A Serial Killer, and a Dangerous Bargain for Redemption by James Keene, played here by Egerton. Keene is a petty criminal and has enough drugs and weapons in his possession to get him ten years behind bars, a sentence that probably means he will not see the last days of his sick father, a former police officer known as Big Jim (Liotta). ). When a detective named Lauren McCauley (an excellent Sepideh Moafi) comes to him with a proposal, he listens. It’s an incredibly dangerous idea that will take Keene from a minimum security facility to a maximum security facility for criminally insane people, where he will be surrounded by killers and career sociopaths. But it will not only lead to Keene’s release, but potentially save lives.
McCauley is working with another detective named Brian Miller (Kinnear) in the case of an alleged serial killer named Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser). They have him for now, but Hall has a pending appeal that seems to be successful, so they need more. Hall has been suspected in several murders throughout the Midwest, but he is one of those guys who never tells the same story twice. His twin brother Gary (a phenomenal Jake McLaughlin) and other detectives believe that Hall is just a broken storyteller, one of those guys who confesses to things he did not do. Miller thinks he’s a real monster playing games, and that Hall committed these horrific rapes and murders. While investigating recent disappearances that could be Hall’s crimes, Jimmy Keene is moved to a cell near the potential monster, left in an incredibly dangerous situation where hardly anyone in prison knows why he is there. When he does not escape a corrupt guard or navigate the convicted power structure, Keene must slowly make Hall open up, knowing that what he finds inside will be absolutely awful.
Lehane’s dialogue is sharp from the first scene to the last of the six episodes “Black Bird”, and the whole ensemble comes to life through his words. Egerton finds the perfect balance between gravel and vulnerability. He’s just an opportunistic criminal, not one who wants to discuss rape and child murder. Egerton captures the emotional effort of having to listen to a monster in ways reminiscent of Netflix’s excellent “Mindhunter,” which also seems to influence the procedural things that go down with McCauley & Miller. Kinnear has a flint intellectualism that fits the character perfectly, one that pushes a little harder than the police who seem too willing to believe that Hall is a serial confessor. Hauser is a bit more of a mixed bag. Probably true to the real guy, he plays Hall with a high-frequency feeling that can sometimes be like a crutch or even a distraction. He’s better when he does not lean into the breadth of Hall’s physicality and vocal tics, especially in the fifth episode, which is almost a two-hander between Hauser and Egerton. Finally, there is the heartbreaking work from Liotta, who was actually sick on the set. He gives his worried, dying father a truth that serves as an emotional backdrop for everything that happens in the series.