"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

American Rust 1.1-2: Pennsylvania Noir

My wife and I just had a chance to see the first two episodes of American Rust on Showtime.  We'll definitely be watching the ensuing six episodes.

It occurred to me that American Rust is part of what may be called Pennsylvania Noir, joining Mare of Eastham (which received three impressive Emmys the other night) and Your Honor (which should have received some Emmys).  American Rust is the most down in the dirt, depicting a way of life under siege from poverty and the elements, with characters who know what's good even if they can't have it, and escape to New York City if they can.

The acting that portrays those characters is outstanding.  Jeff Daniels is Chief of Police Del Harris.  He's on some kind of PTSD-control drugs, in love with Grace Poe (played by Maura Tierney), who is married to a jackass husband Virgil (Mark Pellegrino), but Harris still manages to do his job with a moral code that transcends the law.   But I think my favorite character is Billy Poe (played by Alex Neustaedter), somehow involved in a murder which I'm guessing he didn't commit, and reminding me a lot of Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) on Friday Night Lights, which is a very good thing.

More on the murder: the whodunnit is the heart of narrative, and so far it has some compelling players. Harris will bend the rules to the point of breaking them to protect Billy, and it's not clear at this point what Harris really believes.  Billy's in love with the sister of the guy who may have committed the murder with Billy, or maybe did it just on his own, and I was glad to see the two of them totally together again, even for just a night, because I'm a hopeless romantic.  It was sweet to see Lee (Julia Mayorga) fall asleep in Billy's arms as they were dancing at a wedding.

So there's a lot of story to see in American Rust, and I'll be back here with weekly reviews.

No comments: