Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine:
"Bloodline suggests Cat on a Hot Tin Roof if it were stretched out
and updated for broadcast as a prestige cable TV series. As in the play, the
series is obsessively concerned with the murky side effects of the sins wrought
by a prosperous patriarch, in this case Robert Rayburn (Sam Shepard), a
hotel owner in the Florida Keys... There are references to abuse and (in
passages reminiscent of Shepard's own play, Buried Child) hints of the
existence of someone who may have died prematurely years ago, and there are also
pointed allusions to Robert's unethical influence over an environmental
compliance board. Robert's presence haunts the series in a rueful, masculine
fashion that exists effortlessly within Shepard's wheelhouse as resident,
Josh Bell, Las Vegas Weekly:
"Netflix’s new drama Bloodline has such a great cast and such
impressive production values, it’s easy to give it a pass for being so
dramatically inert... From a plot standpoint, Bloodline is
completely flat, using its shifting timelines as a trick to make mundane
developments seem more ominous than they really are."
Film critic Bill Hanna:
"The acting is consistently superb from this ensemble cast, and you won’t find a
weak link in it. Spacek and Shepard bring grace, charm, and dignity to
their respective roles as the matriarch and patriarch of the Rayburn clan. Their
chemistry is so good that when you see them together, you will really believe
that they have been married for almost 50 years."
Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe:
"The show is beautifully filmed, by cinematographer Jaime Reynoso with
lots of mangroves and coral reefs. You can feel the heat, and you can smell the
salt. You’re acutely aware that the show is set in a place where the gators are
wont to snatch up a domestic cat, which adds to the show’s always-growing sense
"It’s tough to tell if Danny Rayburn, an increasingly desperate man trying to
reconnect with a family that continues to reject him – is the product of his
upbringing or a genuine bad seed. Explaining to his scornful father why he has
come home, Danny calmly asserts, “I thought we could work things out before you
die.” It’s the stuff of a stage play by Sam Shepard, which makes the
acclaimed playwright’s portrayal of Danny’s distant dad and Mendelsohn’s
enthralling work opposite him all the more resonant."
Robert Bianco, USA Today:
"There's excellent work here, particularly from Spacek, Shepard and
Chandler — who brings his usual quiet strength to the project despite being
saddled with the intrusive narrative device. But despite some fine individual
performances, the actors never collectively project a sense of family — the
shared history, gestures and mannerisms that identify siblings even when they
don't look alike. And if you don't believe the family, or care what happens to
them, why would you invest in their story?"
Margaret Lyons, Vulture:
Bloodline is a real orgy of prestige: Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard
and Kyle Chandler! From the people who brought you Damages! It's on Netflix,
ooooh. And it's a dark, broody family drama with disorienting flashbacks and
flash-forwards and fancy rich-people parties and the constant ominous gurgles of
a secret-keeping ocean. This, of course, includes the naked, dead body of a
young woman as well as the bare breasts of anonymous characters, which I guess
is required by law. In other words, Bloodline really seems like another
one of our high-end, big-deal shows. But we all have secrets, as the show
reminds us over and over. And Bloodline's secret is that it's just not
David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle:
"The voice-over narration is probably necessary, but sometimes feels like a
bit of a crutch, especially since the performances are more than sufficient to
convey the complexity of the drama. It’s a testament to how good Chandler,
Cardellini, Butz and Mendelsohn are that we almost immediately suspend disbelief
that these four people could ever be related. I mean, seriously: Look at them.
Unless all four were adopted, you will not initially believe they are siblings.
It’s especially gratifying to watch old pros (and onetime Charlottesville, Va.,
neighbors) Shepard and Spacek play off each other."
Pilot Viruet, Flavorwire:
"Bloodline is slow. It’s purposely and purposefully slow,
excruciatingly sluggish as it teases viewers throughout the first few episodes
but never reveals enough. An early voiceover explains, 'We’re not bad people,
but we’ve done a bad thing,' which should be enough to hold our interest, but
the Netflix original constantly tests our commitment to slog through the swamps
of Florida, waiting impatiently for something — anything — of note to be
revealed. There are surely reasons to stick around, most notably the cast (Kyle
Chandler, Linda Cardellini, Sissy Spacek, Sam Shepard, Chloe Sevigny) and
the setting, which makes ample use of the sticky, humid, and rainy Florida Keys.
But it’s hard to find the energy to hit 'next episode' or the urgency to
binge-watch, which is surely what Netflix would prefer viewers do. Bloodline
is good, but not everyone who starts the first episode will stay with it for
long enough to realize it."
Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, A.V. Club:
"Sam Shepard is a silent but powerful force throughout the episode (Part
4)... The final scene between Robert and Danny drips with tension and a quiet
intensity and makes a very compelling early case for awards attention for both
Shepard and Ben Mendelsohn."
David Sims, The Atlantic:
"The show's simplest appeal is its actors, even if they're not all instantly
familiar, they comprise a murderer's row of TV prestige... Parents Robert and
Sally, are played by Sam Shepard and Sissy Spacek, both unfortunately
limited to fairly doddering parts despite their seismic talent."
Kate Kompas, St. Cloud Times:
"All the performances are great, but Mendelsohn is the standout... There's
something about the way his eyes shift; he's like a feral cat. He can make you
nervous just looking at him."