Critics Have Seen Lily Gladstone's Killers Of The Flower Moon Follow-Up. What They're Saying About Under The Bridge

 Lily Gladstone in Under the Bridge.
Lily Gladstone in Under the Bridge.

Lily Gladstone took moviegoers by storm with her performance in Killers of the Flower Moon, becoming the first Indigenous American in Academy Awards history to be nominated for Best Actress. Everyone who’s excited to see what she does next is in luck, because her next project is already here. The first two episodes of Under the Bridge, a true crime drama, can be streamed now with a Hulu subscription, and critics who have screened the entire eight-episode series are here to weigh in with their thoughts on Gladstone’s performance.

Alongside Lily Gladstone — who plays officer Cam Bentland — Under the Bridge stars Riley Keough as Rebecca Godfrey (the author of the book the series is based on), as they investigate the 1997 murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk. Hoai-Tran Bui of Inverse says Gladstone is the strongest aspect of the series, proving that she is one of our greatest contemporary screen presences. The critic continues:

Under the Bridge weaves a compelling, if sometimes convoluted, mystery out of a relatively simple story, but its characters and performances keep this somewhat ungainly series afloat. Though the show’s decision to make Rebecca a character sometimes makes for awkward narrative insertions, Keough and Gladstone’s interactions help create the show’s most riveting moments. Gladstone, in particular, is a saving grace, her turmoiled performance elevating it from its true-crime trappings into something more haunting and striking.

Aramide Tinubu of Variety says Lily Gladstone and Riley Keough anchor the series that is ultimately about longing, otherness, race and the frailties of community. Tinubu continues:

Sharp and devastating, with a ’90s hip-hop soundtrack laced throughout, Under the Bridge is an absorbing examination of cruelty, why some people receive empathy over others and how our own biases can prevent us from recognizing the truth. The series is a reminder of the anguish of rejection for teens, especially girls — and how that can manifest into something grotesque. Without proper guidance or a listening ear, the torment they inflict upon one another seems, in many ways, inevitable.

Ben Travers of IndieWire agrees that Lily Gladstone carries the show, as she embodies the exhaustion that Cam feels in her hometown and with the case. It’s too bad she’s not at the center of the story, the critic says. He grades the miniseries a B-, writing:

Having Gladstone play the conflicted central cop is a godsend, not only because the recent Oscar nominee is still riding a wave of well-deserved goodwill from Killers of the Flower Moon, but because she’s an actor who can play in the genre without feeling redundant. … Gladstone’s emotive eyes and gentle approach give a richness to each situation, making Cam’s experience feel both unique and compelling. She shoulders Cam’s burdens with self-awareness. She may not be able to put her weariness into words until this case forces her hand, but Cam’s eyes aren’t being opened to anything she didn’t already know, somewhere, deep inside. Her attitude, her outlook, and her exhaustion don’t change over time. They just expand.

Judy Berman of Time magazine also praises Lily Gladstone’s performance as Cam, a character concealing a lifetime’s worth of anger. Under the Bridge is more than just another dead-girl show, the critic says, despite a few cringe-worthy moments in the script. Berman writes:

Fortunately, the show is compelling enough to overcome an occasional silly moment. So many crime dramas from the past decade repeat the same pat takeaways about how race and class intersect with criminal justice systems, but [showrunner Quinn Shephard] avoids broad generalizations. She is alert to the specificity of not just Reena’s background, but also the diverse experiences of every other character caught up in her story. Stereotypes turn out to be red herrings, for investigators as well as viewers.

Laura Miller of Slate even says the series is the rare adaptation that is richer than its source material, writing:

Under the Bridge may begin as a true-crime dramatization, but it arrives at this sweeping, tragic vision of the harm human beings do to each other. The damage pingpongs from one person to another, multiplying itself until it culminates in a catastrophic event like Reena’s death.

It sounds like those looking forward to seeing Lily Gladstone in a new role won’t be disappointed, as many critics are calling her portrayal of the Canadian police officer one of the highlights of the dramatized true crime story. Under the Bridge holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of 83%, with a 75% audience score after two episodes.

You can stream new episodes each Wednesday on Hulu, and be sure to check out our 2024 TV schedule to see what other premieres are coming soon.