Show Me a Hero movie full length review - The solid responsibility of the story-telling mostly offsets the fragmented nature of it
It was the name recognition of David Simon that brought me to this mini-series, although if I am honest little else from the plot summary really appealed to me.
The story of Yonkers' objection to a court order that they must find sites for affordable housing to be built; it is a true story that unfolds over decades, has lots of council meetings, politics, and a large ensemble cast. While part of you will want to focus on the potential for big showboating scenes in those council meetings, with people fighting the good fight, the truth is that this is not a show that has heroic types, or big moments ? so the 'true story' and 'decades' bits are really what you should consider. In this way the mini-series is not the most thrilling ride, and I say that as someone who enjoyed it. There are no big explosive moments and no barnstorming courtroom moments.
Instead the story unfolds through fines and political pandering, and really those politicians 'pushing' the housing in Yonkers are really just those who realize they cannot push back. In and around this we have the residents of the area, and those who would become residents. This gives the show a feeling of depth, but at the same time gives it the problem that it cannot spend too long with anyone, and also has too many plates spinning to be able to move the story with a sharp pace. That is what it has to do though, and it is impressive how well the decades-long narrative, with its complexity and commentaries, does manage to hang together and make for an engaging story.
I don't think it is perfect, and it does overextend its reach in how much it tries to bring to the table. However it is a quality piece of story-telling and I liked it as such. The quality is there in the writing, and the way such complexity is made accessible in an unsexy, unglamorous way ? with real, flawed characters everywhere, just like real life. Performances are strong across the board ? Isaac, perhaps being the one grabbing the headlines with his tragic character, but the cast is deep in good performances (and many HBO faces from Oz, The Wire, and other shows). It does have the feeling of a show you 'should' watch rather than one that you really 'want' to watch, however for its flaws, it is consistently solid in its story-telling, and it delivers a realistic, nuanced, and balanced presentation of the situation, where few are villains, even fewer are heroes, and mostly people are just flawed in whatever they are trying to do.