What a strange show.
The story of a miserable hitman looking for purpose in life, Barry is somewhat of a bore when its begins. As the title character, Bill Hader is appropriately miserable, but his detachment also means you have zero emotional investment in his journey at first. But I guess that’s the point! It’s all so dreary and monotonous, and that’s exactly what Barry is feeling at this point in his life. That is until… he takes up acting! Yup, that’s the basic set-up of the show and it’s rife with potential!
Thankfully, Hader is also surrounded by a great cast. As Barry’s new acting coach Gene, the great Henry Winkler is just terrific. However, the standout is Anthony Carrigan as Noho Hank, a Chechen mobster who gets the pilot’s most amusing moments. His line delivery, his mannerisms – it’s all so perfect and hilarious. The comedy is obviously super dark in this one, but it balances all the murder quite effectively.
Also, I won’t spoil the ending here but it certainly leaves an impact with a genuine sense of urgency in its final moments and a witty proclamation. I’ll definitely be sticking with this one for a while.
Barry is not for everyone, and you might need to watch the pilot twice (like I did) to appreciate its bizarre tone. Nevertheless, this is a confident start to HBO’s newest offering.