May. 13, 2021
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Watch Full The Underground Railroad Season 1 Streaming HD


Again and again throughout Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Underground Railroad, the Oscar-winning Moonlight director will pause the story to present a tableau of his huge cast of black characters. These shots are stunning in their composition, as if Jenkins and cinematographer James Laxton are painting an entirely different vision of American history than the one you most commonly find in textbooks and on museum walls.

It’s an appropriate touch for a story that weaves in agonizingly real details from our horrible past of racist injustice with Whitehead’s rewriting of yesterday — so that, for instance, the titular “underground” is a literal network of subterranean train tunnels that enslaved people like Cora (Thuso Mbedu) and Caesar (Aaron Pierre) use to escape the horrors of a life in bondage.

Whitehead’s book is episodic, and for the most part lends itself well to this 10-part translation — though Amazon is doing the show no favors by releasing it all at once, rather than encouraging viewers to digest only one dense, emotionally challenging episode per week(*). We begin on the Georgia cotton plantation where Cora and Caesar are forced to work — and to procreate while sadistic plantation boss Terrance Randall (Benjamin Walker) watches for his own perverted satisfaction.


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