HOMECOMING: A Taut Mystery with Stellar Direction

Amazon’s Homecoming finds Julia Roberts starring in a television series for the first time in her career, and she could hardly have made a more cinematic choice for her small screen debut. Directed by television auteur Sam Esmail, best known as the creator of USA Network’s Mr. Robot, the only thing small about Homecoming is the claustrophobic vise of its mystery. As if claiming itself too large for its own medium, the show frequently toys with the image’s aspect ratio and employs a prodigious amount of split screens, a stylistic technique out of fashion since the seventies and a particularly audacious choice in the visually cramped era of laptop streaming. The proper reaction to Homecoming’s first episode is, “We’re gonna need a bigger T.V.”

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