‘Under the Bridge’ Empathetically Examines One of Canada’s Most Shocking Crimes

Reena Virk’s death in Saanich, BC, came with the revelation that adolescent bullying in 1997 could go beyond name-calling and prank calls. It was a general shock to the Canadian public that a teenage girl’s murder didn’t come at the hands of an older predator, but rather from her just-as-young classmates, ages ranging from 14 to 16 years. Under the Bridge retells the story of Virk, those responsible for her murder, and Toronto author Rebecca Godfrey processing the events that would eventually become the award-winning book of the same name.

Disney+ makes it clear that the eight-episode series, though based on Godfrey’s book and Virk’s case, takes dramatic licence and even invents some elements entirely. The latter particularly lies with Lily Gladstone’s Cam Bentland, a local cop with aspirations of becoming a detective in Vancouver. While it doesn’t appear an actual officer named Cam Bentland worked on the case, Gladstone’s character acts as a representation for the policing side of the case as a whole, with some added focus given to missing Indigenous children in Canada.

Under The Bridge Episode 4 Fact-Check: 7 Biggest True Story Changes &  Inaccuracies

Under the Bridge doesn’t completely ignore the problems surrounding how Virk’s case was handled by the Canadian justice system (from the police investigation right through to the many trials) — something Virk’s father wrote about in his book, Reena: A Father’s Story — but it would be fair to say it only gives those issues a mere acknowledgement. Instead, series creator Quinn Shephard focuses her efforts on the individuals behind the story and their humanity, a similar perspective Godfrey takes in her book.

In each episode, Shephard simultaneously depicts the days and months leading up to the murder and the aftermath seamlessly. The timeline remains clear throughout — an impressive feat considering how liberally the series moves between the past and present. Beyond being a simple narrative device, Shephard uses the movement of time to explore Virk’s mindset, as well as that of her friends and family, and amplifies the intimate devastation and grief they experienced.

Godfrey, played by Riley Keough in the series, received acclaim for taking a nuanced look at the teenagers responsible for Virk’s death. Rather than only villainizing them and their behaviour, Godfrey took a more personal approach, having great regard to the teens’ youthfulness, for better and for worse. Shephard’s reflection of Godrey’s approach serves the series well, for the most part, elevating it from becoming just another true-crime series to a character study of teenagers and the complexities inherent to this phase of life.

Under the Bridge Showrunners sobre a adaptação da história de Reena Virk e  a escalação de Riley Keough como Rebecca Godfrey

However, the episodes’ detour into Cam and Godfrey’s relationship, as well as Cam’s own personal story, feels a bit tacked on. The crux of this story is the manner in which Virk died and the circumstances around her murder — not the author Godfrey or the fictional Cam. If the choice is between Cam and Godfrey’s storylines and a deeper exploration of the legal system, I would have preferred the latter, despite the strong performances by Gladstone and Keough.

In addition to the two leads, Vritika Gupta amazes as Virk. The young actor exemplifies the insecurities that all teenagers embody, but specifically the insecurities that teenagers from immigrant families living in predominantly white neighbourhoods experience.

On this point, Shephard chooses to introduce Dusty (Aiyana Goodfellow) as one of Virk’s close friends. Inspired by Virk’s actual friend Missy Grace Pleich, the unspoken connection and understanding between the two friends as the only two non-white teenagers of the group adds a subtle depth to the story and its exploration of teenage dynamics. Although Dusty has a tender heart and a better understanding of Virk and her family, her desire to be accepted by the two alphas, Kelly Ellard (Izzy G) and Josephine Bell (Chloe Guidry), consumes her.

Undoubtedly, Kelly and Josephine are the nucleus of the story and series. Their outward tough-girl personas will be familiar to many, and Izzy G and Guidry succeed in bringing us right back to high school, infuriating viewers in their treatment of Virk even before any violence occurs.

'Under the Bridge' review: Heartbreaking Hulu series shows how bullies took  the life of an unhappy teen - Chicago Sun-Times

Because Under the Bridge focuses on the people as opposed to the process, there’s a particular importance to the performances of these four girls. Gupta, Goodfellow, Guidry and Izzy G all deliver exceptional turns, with each playing to the anger, fear and false confidence of their real-life counterparts.

The series never excuses the actions of those responsible, but it does take the time to understand them, just as it understands Virk. For those new to the story of Reena Virk, Under the Bridge serves as a needed introduction to a murder that rocked Canada, and to the young teen whose life was unnecessarily cut short. By revisiting the growing pains of being in grade school in the ’90s, Under the Bridge asks us to consider bullying as it was then and as it is today.

Related Posts

Our Privacy policy

https://news75today.com - © 2024 News75today