Top positive review
12 people found this helpful
Slow, brooding and worth the journey.
on 11 December 2016
The title is apt as the series is really about the characterisation of Ray. If you enjoy character driven shows you will probably enjoy this. The pacing is slow and you should give it at least 3-4 episodes before making up your mind whether to watch the rest. The story arcs are somewhat obvious and the plot goes along how you might expect; this show isn't about surprises and plot twists or cliffhanger endings.
The acting is mostly excellent, this is Liev Schreiber's best performance for a long time. Jon Voight is bizarre (as usual) and hams it up at times but the supporting cast is excellent and it is only people like James Woods who let it down, which is a shame really as James Woods is a great actor. The writing is excellent and the series flows like a well written book, it is not episodic in any way and it is a good series to binge watch.
Although the description says Ray is a 'fixer' the story is really about family relationships with Ray at the centre trying to hold his life together while being pulled between the past (and his mistakes) and his future. There is some humour in it but otherwise it it emotionally dark and tense. If you are easily offended by swearing, explicit sex (with violence in many of the sex scenes) you may not want to watch this. Some of the lines and actions coming from Jon Voight for example are unrepeatable and definitely only for adults. There are many explicit verbal references to child abuse, which may upset some viewers.
The show covers subject matter such as organised crime, celebrity culture, drugs, family, tragedy and how people can, or can't, move beyond their past. It covers some familiar territory but it does it in a refreshing and updated way; this show would not have been made 15 years ago.
It is good to see a show that doesn't rely on cheap plot twists and that doesn't make you wait to the end to find out what is going on, instead Ray Donovan is an adult (in all senses of the word!) drama, which is well written, excellently acted and directed that rewards the viewer who is prepared to go on the whole journey of the story.