Daniel (Aden Young) spends 19 years on death row, sentenced to die after supposedly murdering a 16 year old girl. He his released thanks to new technique – DNA-samples – and we get to follow him through his following days as a released convict in a small town.
Daniel shifts between what is real and what is not. He rarely sleeps and due to sleep-deprivation and spending 19 years in a small cell with little to none stimuli (except from books) he experiences a state of surrealism. He can’t differentiate between dreams and real life.
We follow him through the love he receives from his family, the hatred from the citizens, and the uncertainty from the cops and lawyers. He himself wanders seemingly oblivious to it all, meanwhile his family has to deal with people’s opinions, threats and unwillingness to accept that he is free.
Aden Young serves us with a spotless performance. The utter confusion his character experiences in the outside world works it ways through the screen into the viewers mind, forcing one to think of what it would be like. It’s almost as if he is a child again and explores the world from scratch, a tabula rasa.
I especially appreciate how Ray McKinnon (screenwriter) has portrayed Daniel when he tries to find himself again, which he does by going back to how he was when he was 18. He rides bikes, plays SEGA, listens to his hold music etc. Another sweet-spot is the relationship which forms between Daniel and another convict, Kerwin Whitman (Johnny Ray Gill), how they find each other on each side of the wall between them. Johnny Gill also gives an outstanding performance, a vulnerability of sorts. Where he shifts between trying to find some sort of joy in his situation and then crash into the realisation of his upcoming death.
Another aspect is the sister-brother relationship between Daniel and Amantha Holden (Abigail Spencer). She never stops fighting for him and bluntly has faith in him. Abigail Spencer, what an actress! I am baffled by how she manages to stay on the tipping point of becoming emotional at all times.
Conclusion: amazing actors, brilliant script and directed without ever feeling like it is a series, rather a long movie – thanks to the work that has been put into finding new angles, letting scenes take a lot of time and never rush to some sort of salvation.