It’s summer time and while the last two Aprils have been spent obsessing over MCU’s Avengers storyline, this year, we have no superhero by our side to get us through this pandemic. But while there aren’t any caped men to save the day, it looks like Chris Evans (Captain America) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor) are still on duty, albeit sans costume. Evans stars in the latest Apple TV+ limited series Defending Jacob and Hemsworth is headlining the new Netflix film Extraction.
Chris Evans has taken the charge of the Apple TV+ limited series Defending Jacob and judging by the initial episodes, it would be right to say that Evans has an intriguing thriller on his hands. Here, Evans plays Andy Barber, a lawyer who worked at the District Attorney’s office until recently. He is released from his duty after his teenage son Jacob (Jaeden Martell) becomes the prime suspect in the murder of a classmate. The show is largely narrated through Andy’s point of view as he discusses the events in a grand jury hearing a few months after the murder and we are shown those events in flashbacks.
While Defending Jacob is a mystery, it’s also a psychological study of a family who finds itself in the middle of a media trial. They are boycotted by their society and have to go through a lot of bullying without being pronounced guilty. Evans plays the father who will go to any lengths to save his son. He finds himself in a moral dilemma early on and chooses to be a father, above everything else. Michelle Dockery plays Laurie (Andy’s wife and Jacob’s mother) who loves her son dearly but also knows his core. Her uncertainty towards believing her son creeps into the audience’s mind as well, which makes us question Jacob’s side of the story.
The plot isn’t extraordinary in the first few episodes, but the show engages you because of its top-notch performers. Evans and Dockery are the parents that you root for, and while jury’s still out on Jacob, you want to be there for the Barber family. Andy’s haunting eyes in the opening episode prepare you for the rocky journey ahead.
The show is gently paced for a thriller, but after watching the first three episodes, I realised that much of it was already in the trailer of the series. While giving out a large part of the story in trailers might work otherwise, it should be a complete no-no in case of thrillers. What’s the point of a cliffhanger if you have seen a legitimate clue in the trailer? And this isn’t MCU where scenes are shot and placed in the trailer just to confuse the audience.
Verdict: Defending Jacob is a gently paced thriller that has the ability to bring you back every week.
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