‘For Life’ Review: Brilliant Legal Drama Relevant To Current Times
For Life is a legal drama produced by 50 Cent. it’s a powerful story that resonates with the times we’re living in.
Aside from the fact that For Life, now streaming on Sony Liv, is a brilliant legal drama, it’s a powerful story that resonates with the times we’re living in.
Recently, #BlackLivesMatter protests erupted worldwide against racial discrimination and police brutality following the death of a black man George Floyd at the hands of a cop in the US. At the centre of For Life too is a black protagonist. Aaron Wallace, played by Nicholas Pinnock, is an innocent man who is wrongfully sentenced for a crime he didn’t commit. Not the one to take injustice lying down, he decides to fight back.
He becomes a lawyer when in incarceration who goes on to defend other inmates while also fighting to prove his own innocence.
It’s a story so human that you can’t help but root for Aaron.
For Life is based on a true story and has been produced by 50 Cent. The first season comprises 13 episodes and creator Hank Steinberg has a firm grip over the proceedings even as the narrative keeps alternating between the prison cell and courtroom.
We meet Aaron nine years into his life sentence and learn that he has been put away in prison despite being innocent. He’s unjustly labelled a drug kingpin. He is forced to leave behind his friends and a happy family comprising his wife and a little daughter. This experience would be enough to break anyone, but not Aaron.
Here’s a man who’s determined to stand up to a flawed system and win back his freedom.
He’s desperate to re-unite with his family that loves him so much. More importantly, he’s resolute on bouncing back and reclaiming his dignity that was snatched away from him. And how does he do all of this? By using his prison time to become a lawyer so he can fight for justice, not just for him, but also his fellow inmates. He knows that the only way to fix a broken system is becoming a part of it, and that’s what he does. That’s why it’s hard not to cheer for Aaron.
By now Aaron’s wife Marie, played by Joy Bryant, has moved on from their relationship, but she continues to be his biggest support system. Their relationship, built on the solid foundation of trust, is one of the highlights of the show.
The series takes a hard look at problems that plague society even today including racial injustice, police brutality and a loophole-ridden criminal justice system, making it all the more socially relevant to current times.
For Life moves at a measured pace right up until the end, never once rushing through the episodes and that’s what makes it so binge-worthy. The series boast of top-notch performances. As a wronged man, Nicholas Pinnock turns in an act so convincing that you can literally feel every emotion he’s going through. Joy Bryant is beautifully restrained as Aaron’s confidante and now estranged wife Marie. Indira Varma, as prison warden Safiya Masry who believes in reforms, is sincere. In addition, For Life stars Boris McGiver as Glen Maskins, Tyla Harris as Jasmine Wallace, Mary Stuart Masterson as Anya Harrison and Timothy Busfield as Henry Roswell in key roles.
It’s easy for legal dramas, specially those as long as this, to become monotonous after a point, but not in this case. For Life is so well-written that at no point does the story lose steam.
As a viewer, you are invested and engaged throughout. There are enough hooks and intriguing plot points to sustain your interest.
Ultimately, the biggest strength of For Life is that it’s a solid story of the triumph of human spirit. It makes you believe in the power of hope, and sometimes, that’s all you need! The series is streaming now on Sony Liv.
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