Bloodline oozes with an irresistible style and showcases an altogether fascinating insight into rural Florida.
Created by Glenn and Todd Kessler and Daniel Zelman, Bloodline is original, dark and thrilling, causing enjoyable and harrowing watch. There is an impressively strung together plot which achieves a poignant balance between a police investigation turning into a sinister crime, a complicated family debacle and a convoluted return to normality for adrift character Danny.
Kyle Chandler (Wolf of Wall Street, Super 8) Ben Mendelsohn (Slow West, Killing them Softly) and Linda Cardellini (Mad Men, ER) assemble what is a talented cast and they respectively deliver with strong individual performances, particularly Mendelsohn, who plays Danny, and he has been nominated for best supporting actor by Critic’s Choice TV Awards. The plot develops nicely, though at times sluggishly, from episode to episode until it escalates to what has been one of the most dramatic climaxes I have seen for a season finale. The writing is good, complementing the acting, and a very fresh, visually appealing environment is illuminated, making the show all the more enjoyable.
Bloodline is set in a small, family run hotel on the Florida Keys. Locations throughout the show vary from ominous woodland to old fashioned small-towns, but predominantly consist of seaside sites. The viewer certainly obtains a vivid perception of life by the ocean and the features available to be seen, including characters and general landscape, both of which seem weathered and worn. The creators provide intriguing aerial shots which highlight the isolation and unpredictability of this landscape, linking interestingly to the storyline and the way in which the characters interact.
Danny, is what some may describe as the runt of the family, having problems with alcohol and drugs and retaining a regrettable tendency to mix with immoral people and crime. He is undoubtedly dissimilar to his other siblings, who have respective professions as a cop, a lawyer and an owner of a modest boat yard, and his failure to succeed in the same way has earned him disrespect from his harsh father. Considering this, the fact that he returns to his home sparks a sensitive conflict among the family, which intermingles with past tragedies and controversial decisions, instigating an enthralling familial drama.
However, Bloodline also offers an intense and somewhat disturbing addition to the plot with the police investigation into a mysterious murder of a boatload of illegal immigrants. Kyle Chandler gives an excellent portrayal of John Rayburn, the most respected of the Rayburn offspring, and he leads the quest in uncovering what becomes an increasingly bloodcurdling criminal case. His family life interacts rousingly with his professional life and, as the man everyone else looks up to; it is interesting to see the development he endures.
The show expresses the austerity of American society and the dysfunctional relationship between law and crime, and this highlights the frailty the southern states hang in, in terms of the thin line between right and wrong. Of course a dominant theme is family life, though Bloodline also tackles issues such as loss, sex, and corruption, making for an absorbing television experience. Disregarding their complexity, the characters, perhaps, are not incredibly likeable, marring the show from becoming as great as Mad Men, Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, and at times the plot progresses at a slow, monotonous pace.
Bloodline has been given the green light for a second season, which is due in 2016, showing it has been received reasonably well and it is a good watch, though it is difficult to really invest yourself into it generally. Three out of five stars is my opinion, as it is a decent, and at times, brilliant attempt, though it lacks the X factor the best shows can boast.