You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘The Red Road’


Martin Henderson, Jason Momoa, Julianne Nicholson, Tamara Tunie, Annalise Basso, Allie Gonino, Kiowa Gordon, Lisa Bonet, Tom Sizemore

Continuing Sundance Channel’s very European approach to drama, “The Red Road” grinds along slowly, a mere six-episode series with the same languid pace as the network’s earlier foray, “Rectify.” In this later case, the format doesn’t entirely work, although it does create enough tension — thanks in large part to the scary, visually imposing presence of “Game of Thrones” alum Jason Momoa — to pull the audience along through this “Road’s” modest twists and turns. While certainly not bad, the series would be better if it came with fewer built-in speed bumps, and a little more narrative momentum.

Momoa plays Phillip, an ex-con who grew up on a Native-American reservation, and who looks like the last guy in the world anyone would want to mess with even when he’s standing perfectly still. “Did you kill him in the house?” he asks a slightly twitchy friend, merely part of the underlying mysteries that series creator Aaron Guzikowski (working with showrunner Bridget Carpenter) exhibits little interest in rushing to disgorge.

The central conflict, meanwhile, stems from a relationship between Phillip’s little brother (Kiowa Gordon), a virtual stranger to him; and Rachel (Allie Gonino), the daughter of Harold (Martin Henderson), a local sheriff in Walpole, N.J.

Harold’s wife (Julianne Nicholson) is none too happy about this across-the-tracks romance, and her mental troubles begin leading the characters down a path rife with tragic consequences, slicked by the fact that Phillip is engaged in nefarious activities on behalf of his grizzled father (Tom Sizemore), making his interactions with Harold all the more suspect and uncomfortable. Having grown up in the same small town, there’s also an element of history that adds wrinkles to the story.

Like “Rectify,” six episodes is probably more than enough to get a sense of whether the concept is working. But getting by on mood-centric atmosphere is a delicate balancing act, and while Momoa projects the aura of a very mercurial dude who might go off at a moment’s notice, dangling the threat without much in the way of action only goes so far. (Lisa Bonet, incidentally, joins the show in the third episode.)

Credit Sundance with rather quickly finding a tone that distinguishes the channel from other players in the drama game, dabbling in an indie-film sensibility that dovetails with the movies it offers.

Still, there is a distinction between daring to follow a road less traveled and actually delivering a series that makes viewers want to hang around, even if it’s just for the short haul.

TV Review: 'The Red Road'

(Series; Sundance Channel, Thurs. Feb. 27, 9 p.m.)


Filmed in Georgia by Kopus Prods.


Executive producers, Aaron Guzikowski, Sarah Condon, Bridget Carpenter; producer, Jim Bigwood; co-producer, Zack Whedon; director, James Gray; writer, Guzikowski; camera, Ivan Strasburg; production designer, Kitty Doris-Bates; editor, Kristina Boden; music, Daniel Licht; casting, Junie Lowry Johnson, Libby Goldstein. 60 MIN.


Martin Henderson, Jason Momoa, Julianne Nicholson, Tamara Tunie, Annalise Basso, Allie Gonino, Kiowa Gordon, Lisa Bonet, Tom Sizemore

More TV

  • StarzPlay Buys Erotic Thriller Series 'Instinto,'

    StarzPlay Buys Erotic Thriller 'Instinto' and Drama Series ‘Sanctuary’ for U.K.

    StarzPlay has snagged rights to Spanish-produced erotic thriller series “Instinto” and psychological thriller “Sanctuary.” The Starz streaming service has scored both series for the U.K. and for unspecified territories in Continental Europe. Movistar Plus- and Bambu Producciones-produced “Instinto” follows Marco Mur, an attractive, successful businessman. A trauma from his past prevents him from getting emotionally [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Rothman Brecher Ehrich Livingston Signs Writers Guild Code

    The Rothman Brecher Ehrich Livingston agency has signed the Writers Guild of America’s Code of Conduct, allowing the agency to return to representing WGA members again. The WGA made the announcement Monday night. RBEL is joining more than 70 agencies allowed to represent WGA members thanks to agreeing to a ban of agency packaging fees [...]

  • Fiona Lang and Ryan Shiotani

    BBC Studios Hires GMs in Further Asia Reshuffle

    BBC Studios the coproduction and rights sales arm of the British Broadcasting Corporation, has appointed Fiona Lang and Ryan Shiotani as general managers in the Asia-Pacific region. Lang, currently COO for the company in Australia and New Zealand, is promoted to become BBC Studios’ GM in the same geography. Her responsibilities cover marketing, advertising, creative, [...]

  • The Lord of the Rings: The

    'Lord of the Rings' Series Renewed by Amazon for Season 2

    Amazon has given an early Season 2 renewal to its forthcoming “Lord of the Rings” series. Pre-production on the project’s first season, which is set to film in New Zealand, is currently underway — although sources tell Variety that the full cast has not yet been set. Several actors, including Markella Kavenagh, Will Poulter, and [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Chinatown' Prequel Series in Development at Netflix From David Fincher, Robert Towne

    A prequel series to the classic film “Chinatown” is in early development at Netflix, Variety has confirmed with sources. David Fincher and Robert Towne, the film’s writer, are attached to pen the script. It will reportedly focus on the exploits of a young Jake “J.J.” Gittes during his early days as a private investigator. Netflix declined [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content