Premise: A corrupt sheriff’s deputy in Los Angeles gets himself entangled in the seedy underworld of the city. Good and bad blur and the officer stumbles deeper and deeper into the chaos.
Stars: John Hawkes, Jena Malone and Miles Teller. Nicolas Winding Refn directed and co-created the miniseries.
Sum-up: Amazon did not allow U.S. critics to watch this miniseries in full before the release. Given that the 10 episodes all stretch over an hour (besides the last one), nobody, including myself, has a good read on the merits of this. A stylistic choice of slowness ― the camera lingers on neon colors, characters do more staring than talking, the plot reveals itself slowly ― makes it even trickier to judge whether this will have a payoff. After watching the beginning of the series, all I can say is the show at least has something unique going on here.
Heads-up: “Too Old to Die Young” starts with themes of violence against women and rampant misogyny. This establishes the moral darkness of the characters but still makes for a tough watch. Also, this director has put out various versions of this style ― neon palette backdrop for awkward characters barely talking ― with movies such as “Drive” and “Only God Forgives.” I think this has had diminishing returns, especially as other directors have embraced neon as of late.
Look-up: Props to The A.V. Club for their headline about the show: “How the hell do you review a TV show you’ve only seen the 4th and 5th episodes of?” Amazon decided to screen the fourth and fifth episodes without much context at the Cannes Film Festival this year. These episodes ultimately became American critics’ only insight into the show before its June 14 release. Anytime a studio doesn’t let critics see their show or movie before release, it tends to indicate an anticipation of bad reviews. That may not be what’s happening here, but the choice remains odd.
Check out the trailer for “Too Old to Die Young” below.