Hulu's 'Under the Bridge' Receives Mixed Reviews in True Crime Drama Debut

Hulu's 'Under the Bridge' Receives Mixed Reviews in True Crime Drama Debut

Hulu's "Under the Bridge" has hit the screens, promising a respectful dive into the murky waters of true crime drama. Starring Lily Gladstone and Riley Keough, the series is based on Rebecca Godfrey's book about a harrowing murder case in Canada. But does it deliver the gripping narrative audiences crave?

At first glance, "Under the Bridge" seems to navigate the treacherous terrain of true crime storytelling with caution. It sidesteps the pitfalls of glorifying law enforcement or exploiting victims' tragedies, opting instead for a more empathetic approach. Keough's portrayal of Godfrey, a journalist investigating the brutal murder of a teenage girl, adds depth to the narrative. However, despite its noble intentions, the series often feels like a lukewarm cola—lacking the fizz and excitement of its counterparts.

One of the show's strengths lies in its portrayal of the victim, Reena Virk, played by Vritika Gupta. Through her character, the series sheds light on the struggles of being a minority within a minority—a South Asian girl on a predominantly white island. The dismissive attitude of the authorities towards Reena's disappearance highlights systemic issues that resonate deeply with viewers. Yet, despite these poignant moments, "Under the Bridge" fails to leave a lasting impression.

Gladstone's performance as Officer Cam Bentland adds a layer of authenticity to the narrative, but even her talent can't rescue the series from its lackluster execution. The plot feels formulaic, following the familiar beats of other true crime dramas without offering anything new or innovative. The multiple timelines, portentous voiceovers, and blurry formal shifts only serve to further bog down the narrative, making it feel disjointed and unfocused.

Comparisons to other true crime dramas such as "Sharp Objects" and "Mare of Easttown" are inevitable, but "Under the Bridge" falls short of reaching the same heights. While the series attempts to explore themes of teenage rebellion and the impact of pop culture on impressionable minds, it ultimately fails to make a meaningful connection with its audience. The characters, while intriguing on paper, lack depth and fail to elicit genuine empathy from viewers.

One of the most glaring flaws of "Under the Bridge" is its bloated episode count. With eight episodes in its limited series run, the show struggles to maintain momentum, often meandering aimlessly between subplots and character arcs. While some episodes offer glimpses of promise, such as the fourth episode's exploration of the Virk family's immigrant experience, they are overshadowed by clunky dialogue and heavy-handed storytelling.

In the end, "Under the Bridge" feels like a missed opportunity. Despite its noble intentions and talented cast, the series fails to rise above its peers in the crowded true crime genre. While it may find an audience among die-hard fans of the genre, casual viewers may find themselves reaching for the remote in search of something more engaging.

For those still curious about "Under the Bridge," it's available for streaming on Hulu in the US, with a UK release date yet to be announced. But approach with caution—this is one bridge that may not be worth crossing.

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