STREAMING SATURDAY: Amazon’s Goliath

Goliath is Amazon Prime Video’s latest original series and the current streaming favorite at Casa del Buckler.

Goliath stars Billy Bob Thornton as Billy McBride. Once a well-respected attorney, McBride now is a boozy shadow of his former self. He lost his job with the most powerful legal firm in town – a firm he established – and his wife divorced him. Billy’s relationships with everyone in his life, especially his daughter, our rocky at best.

Enter Patty Solis-Papagian (Nina Arianda), a small-time attorney who asks Billy to help on a case. It involves a mysterious explosion on a boat that’s left one man dead and a wife and son in need of answers. Billy agrees to help Patty. This puts him up against his old firm – the “Goliath” to which the title refers. It also sets him against adversaries who are more dangerous than the law firm that protects them. So begins this nasty web of mystery, murder, conspiracies, and cover ups.

Goliath combines courtroom intrigue with enough action and suspense. Its true strength is its in-depth character study. The world of Goliath is one of moral ambiguity, where people are neither wholly good nor completely evil. Each episode shows their efforts to deal with the effects of the choices they’ve made.

Speaking of characters, the acting in Goliath is superb. It seems that Thornton drew from his real life experiences to craft his McBride character.  His slow, southern drawl is matched by a quick wit and an ability to do whatever it takes to get the next piece of the puzzle needed to solve his case. Thornton’s acting chops allow him to impart the regret he feels each time his actions harm those around him, which happens too often for his comfort.

Thornton is supported by Maria Bello. She does an excellent job as Michelle McBride, the ex-wife torn between her lingering love for Billy and her desire for a new life without him. The most tantalizing performance – especially for longtime movie buffs – is William Hurt as the sinister and scarred Donald Cooperman. Throughout his long career, Hurt has never turned in a bad performance. His ability to be both sinister and sympathetic shows that the talented Mr. Hurt has brought his A-game to Goliath.

Each episode of Goliath moves at a perfectly measured pace. While its many cliffhangers have left me wanting more, my wife and I decided not to binge-watch this series. We’ve decided to let it play out at a pace that roughly matches that of the show, instead. This has allowed the complexities of each episode to sink in before we push play on the next. If slow-streaming is a thing – and I believe it is – I highly recommend Goliath to cinema junkies and streamers in search of the next hot series.