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DVD Review

DVD cover

Series One


Starring: Aden Young, Abigail Spencer, J. Smith-Cameron, Adelaide Clemens, Clayne Crawford and Luke Kirby
Distributor: ITV Studios Global Entertainment
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: TBC
Release Date: 12 October 2015

After spending nearly twenty year on death row, Daniel Holden, is released from prison when the DNA evidence in his case is held to be unsafe. Returning home, on a technicality, Daniel finds it difficult to reintegrate into his home town. There are many who still think that he is guilty of the rape and murder of his girlfriend and greet him with barely disguised hostility. Daniel's greater problem is that he has survived on death row by not being and has almost forgotten his own humanity...

Rectify (2013. 6 eps) is an American gothic show, created by Ray McKinnon. The first season is presented on a two disc DVD set.

This unusual show is not unlike Twin Peaks. There is a central mystery: Did Daniel rape and murder his girlfriend? Many of the town’s people and even members of his own family think he did. But this is not really a show about his guilt; instead what you get is a slow burner, which examines, in the small, the effect of Daniel's return. The show does drop little moments which adds some back story, but there is no hurry to resolve the central mystery. Like Twin Peak, if there were a definite answer as to his guilt the reason for the show's existence would likewise disappear.

Aden Young (Daniel) is able to play the role with great skill, imbuing his character with enough confusion about the social and technological changes, as well as moving from a repetitious environment with no choices, to the town where, for Daniel, there are a bewildering number of small choices to make every day. Daniel is no innocent abroad and Young is able to allow the audience to peek behind his veil to reveal a much darker character, leaving the audience to wonder if Daniel really is guilty.

To rectify is to put things right, but this means different things to different characters. For Daniel's sister (Abigail Spencer) and Mother (J. Smith-Cameron) it is a chance to give him his life back. For his step brother, Teddy (Clayne Crawford) it’s to protect his wife from the danger he perceives. Arrayed against Daniel is Senator Roland Foulkes (Michael O'Neill) who was the original prosecutor and Sheriff Carl Daggett (J. D. Evermore)

If you’re looking for action, well you would be looking in the wrong place, the show is about pathos and deep character examination, even Daniel's eventual beating by local men is placed against a low melancholy soundtrack.

The set has audio options for either English 5.1 or 2.0 with optional English subtitles. For Extras you get Rectify Meet which are eight character profiles coming in at around eight minutes, with contributions from the cast. Rectify: Inside The Episode, with Ray McKinnon, which consists of eight minute sections covering each of the episodes.

Behind the Screen is another set of shots, with contributions from cast and crew looking back on each of the episodes, each of the shorts is around eleven minutes long. Rectify: Inside Jobs is another set of shorts looking at the show's cinematography, costume design, first assistant director, production designer and director. Lastly there is a featurette (3 min, 52 sec) which acts as a calling card for the show.

This is a fascinating show about the impact of a potentially dangerous person being injected into a small town, dredging up lies and horrors which the town has tried to bury. The stories are not above challenging the audience to decide what is real or in Daniel's head as he tries to work out how to live again. Well worth a look if your into quality television.


Charles Packer

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