The Slow Food movement promotes local eating and sustainable farming; the Slow Television subculture encourages the appreciation of small details in story and acting as well as singular focus from viewers. Rectify — the six-part Sundance Channel series that premieres on Monday, April 22 — is a crime series, but more than that, it’s a painstaking examination of what it would be like to be released from death-row isolation after 19 years of white walls and self-abnegation. Scandal it ain’t.
Aden Young plays Daniel Holden, who was convicted as a teenager of raping and murdering his girlfriend, and was sentenced to death. An analysis of the crime’s DNA evidence frees him at the beginning of Rectify’s Episode 1, but in the minds of some of the people in the small Southern town he returns to — including some of his family — it doesn’t exonerate him. The audience isn’t sure of his innocence, either. But his loving sister, Amantha (Abigail Spencer of Mad Men and Burning Love), and his Innocence Project-ish attorney, Jon Stern (Luke Kirby of Slings and Arrows and Tell Me You Love Me) are devoted to him.
Rectify was created by Ray McKinnon, a character actor whom you might recognize from Deadwood and many other roles over the years; he also won an Oscar in 2001 for Best Live Action Short for The Accountant. With Rectify, McKinnon often adopts the point of view of a man who not only has had little contact with the world in nearly 20 years, but whose tactile experiences have been so limited that he is happy to spend time lying in a pile of goose down feathers he’s extracted from a pillow.
It’s Daniel’s physical reentry to non-prison life that we see in this exclusive clip. Amantha and Jon, fearing the town’s hostility, have gone in search of Daniel; they find him at peace, touching grass on a baseball field. Like Rectify itself, it’s beautiful, thought-provoking, well-acted — and slow.
BuzzFeed has partnered with Sundance Channel to host screenings of all six episodes of Rectify on Saturday, April 13, in Los Angeles and New York. It’s free. Here are the invitations if you would like to attend.
We’ll also have a panel after the screenings with cast members; I’ll be hosting the L.A. one, and Adam B. Vary will be moderating the one in New York. Join us!