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Under the Bridge Review – A Sensitive Real Life Murder Mystery Adaptation

By Binged Bureau - May 11, 2024 @ 11:05 pm
6 / 10
BOTTOM LINE: A Sensitive Real Life Murder Mystery Adaptation
Rating
6 / 10
Skin N Swear
Violence, Bullying, Cuss Words
Crime, Drama

What Is the Story About?

Based on Rebecca Godfrey’s novel that goes by the same name, Hulu’s true crime series developed by Quinn Shephard follows Reena Virk, 14 year old Canadian girl, also an immigrant who was brutally bullied and murdered by 6 teenage girls in a horrific homicide that shook the world. The film follows author Rebecca Godfrey and her native American friend Cam Bentland who was also the leading investigative officer of the homicide case.

Performances?

Lily Gladstone, right after her awards season run for her stellar turn in Killers of the Flower Moon, churns yet another moving and earnest performance in Under the Bridge as Cam, the local cop leading the murder investigation. As a homicide that’s racially motivated, Cam’s character and identity adds a lot of warmth, perspective and tenderness to the show.

Vritika Gupta plays Reena Virk and she gets a considerable chunk of screen-time in the show. It’s Reena’s story and she is at the center of the narrative. Her insecurities, bodily concerns, tiffs with the other group girls, Virk Family dynamics, the conversion to Jenovah’s witnesses, her childhood, bullying and finally her disappearance carry sufficient weight in ‘Under the Bridge’ and Vritika Gupta plays the character with so much vulnerability and understanding.

Riley Keough plays journalist/author Rebecca Godfrey, an islander who returns carrying a personal tragedy’s weight and is in search of a story to write home about. She also has a patchy relationship with her parents after a terrible loss of a dear one. The actor provides sufficient cushioning to Gladstone’s and the girl’s performances.

Analysis

Based on a real life homicide case and a TV adaptation of Rebecca Godfrey’s book of the same name, Under the Bridge is an American true-crime drama television miniseries developed by Quinn Shephard for Hulu. The series follows the missing and murder case of Reena Virk, a 14 year old Canadian girl who was beaten and killed by a group of teenagers in British Columbia, Canada.

Under the Bridge places Reena Virk at the center of the story while narrating a shocking case of bullying, child negligence, bad parenting, racism and child-insecurities. The begins right on the day Reena goes missing and is last seen being dragged by a bunch of girls ‘under the bridge’. Hence the title.

While the writing puts enough and more time and importance on Reena, her estranged parents, family dynamics, her reclusive-ness and insecurities, it sheds important lessons on why a teenager was who she was and what negligence does to teenagers today.

The show has a lot of flashbacks, time-lapses and introduces multiple characters throughout its course. Cam and Rebecca happen to be two such major trauma ridden individuals who get embroiled in the Reena Virk Case. While the former is the leading investigative officer of the case, an indigenous woman (adopted), the latter is a grief-ridden journalist cum author (also a native of the island) who is in search of a story in the Seven Oaks.

Under the Bridge starts off with Reena’s disappearnce and Cam investigating the case. While there’s not much of a suspense that could be carved out in a true crime based series, Under the Bridge largely succeeds in handling the case with utmost sensitivity. The show doesn’t belittle the life of a human being lost for the sake of sensationalism, but it puts weight on issues like bullying and child negligence.

Under the Bridge carries the mood and template of several other revered crime dramas such as Under the banner of Heaven, Mare of Easttown and True Detective, while being more psychologically similar to Amy Adams’ Sharp Objects. The writing also takes its time to look at Cam and Rebecca through non-judgemental eyes and urges the audience to look at the teenagers similarly, respecting them for what they are and where they come from.

Unlike Mare of the Easttown and Sharp Objects, the protagonists of Under the Bridge do not get enough healing through the course of investigation, but reverberates a lingering ache for the audience to feel. It’s also respectful considering Under the Bridge is Reena Virk’s story and she is her own person in the series.

Precisely,  Under the Bridge is a carefully made series that deals with a real life homicide case, it’s victim, her family, the culprits, everything that led to the unfortunate event and its repercussions with utmost sensitivity. With effective performances from the cast and an equally strong technical team, the show easily becomes a relevant psychological study of today’s teenagers and the imminent need to protect them as they grow up in a gullible and manipulative system we created for them.

Music and Other Departments?

Alex Somers music and soundtrack for Under the Bridge does a commendable job keeping up with the atmospherics of a true-crime whodunnit, while retaining the essence of the 90s hip-hop music fever. The trio of Checco Varese, C. Kim Miles and Minka Farthing-Kohl rightly anchors the show through their exceptionally moody camera work. However, the cinematography is reminiscent of some popular HBO and Hulu crime-dramas like True Detective, Under the Banner of Heaven,  Mare Of Easttown etc.

Highlights?

Sincerety in adaptation

Cast & Performances

Writing and Politics

Drawbacks?

Duration

Non-linear story telling

Time-jumps and too many characters

Did I Enjoy It?

Yes

Will You Recommend It?

Yes

Under the Bridge Series Review by Binged Bureau

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