Coming to DVD from HBO Home Entertainment is another highly successful series from HBO about Barry.
Barry Berkman (Bill Hader) is a hit man who is making ends meet living in the midwest. Working for Monroe Fuches (Stephen Root), he is sent to Los Angeles for his next hit. Meeting with Chechen mobster NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan), Barry discovers who the next mark is, an actor named Ryan.
Following the hit, Barry finds himself walking in on the middle of an acting class. He is mesmerized by what he is seeing, especially with Sally Reed (Sarah Goldberg) center stage doing an intense scene. Teacher Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) wants the best out of his students and is equally intense. Barry is taken in and Gene announces he must do a monologue if he wants to stay in class.
Determined to finish the hit-job, he isn’t to happen when he discovers that someone else got to the target first – the Chechens. They aren’t through with Barry or Fuches kidnapping them and pulling a little torture to get another hit out of the hit-man. Meantime, Gene announces to the class that Ryan is dead and the distraught class plans a service. Barry freaks out at the funeral and Sally is a little unnerved that he won’t sleep with her.
Barry gets his next order from NoHo but has to bide his time but there is a twists coming for them both. The police question the students in Gene’s class while Barry helps Sally prepare for an audition for a show she really wants. When he gets the chance to take out NoHo’s target but instead Sally calls begging for him to come see her when the audition doesn’t go as planned.
Fuches is still getting work and tells Barry his next hit has Bolivian ties and he isn’t happy about it. Barry is, however, falling for Sally and wants to help her all he can. He also sees a future with the lovely blonde but doesn’t really have the disposition to deal with anyone cutting in on the action. Of course the first step of letting Sally know should have been a hint for him when she gets angry at his claim on her.
The police are still on the case and come back to talk to the acting students and they are interested in Barry but he has an alibi. In return Fuches tells Barry that he has to take out his Marine buddy Taylor (Dave Pavinski). Making the hit together it is clear that Taylor does most of the work and he rats on Barry to Fuches about it all.
The Bolivian drug lord is to arrive in the desert where Barry and Fuches keep watch and the boss still wants Taylor gone. Barry would rather Taylor take over his job so he can go back to acting class and a new life only later to discovers a stash of money in his backpack put there by his ‘good’ buddy. Going back to the airfield, the men discover an ambush and only Barry and Chris (Chris Lucado) make it out alive. That’s not going to stop Barry from going to the Shakespeare rehearsal but is in such a state that he is about to hear it all from Gene.
Gene has a houseguest as Detective Moss (Paula Newsome) knows that they could both be in trouble if anyone finds out. Moss believes that Barry is her suspect but she can’t prove it. The Chechens and drug lord Cristobal Sifuentes (Michael Irby) says he will gladly share the money but you know there is no honor among thieves. Barry prepares to deliver an emotional performance at Shakespeare night and all because he did the one thing he didn’t want to do.
Barry wants out but Fuches isn’t about to let that happen without a fight – literally. That means a little bit of a war between employer and employee as Fuches puts it out that Barry needs to go. NoHo puts a dent in Fuches’ plan because he wants to become bigger in the dangerous world he lives in.
Now that the police aren’t looking at Barry, he feels great about acting class and his relationship with Sally. Gene decides to have a couples weekend and brings Det. Moss, Sally and Barry out to his home in the country. It doesn’t take long before the cop in Moss comes out and she begins to piece together who Barry is. Trying to stop her from continuing on with her suspicions, Barry has to again do the one thing he is trying to get away form.
Hader as Barry gives a performance that is so different from what most of us are use to seeing. Known for his comedy, this is a darker side to his acting career and I love it. As the killer Barry he has no problem drawing his weapon with a cold steel look but on the flip side, Hader’s portrayal of this character has moments of simplicity, a gentleness and the want of a life he can only imagine. He takes everything in and with this new life isn’t sure how to work it all out and Hader gives us every emotion that goes along with that.
Goldberg as Sally is a woman who wants an acting career so badly that she is forced to reach deep inside to prove it to everyone. Her friendship with Barry is sweet and fun but she is confused as to why he doesn’t make a move while at the same time professing that it’s not a good idea for him to make a move. She supports Barry to come to class and leans on him when her auditions don’t pan out. Goldberg rides this role with ease.
Root as Fuches is the poor-man-hit-man’s boss and he just cracks me up. I’m sure I’m supposed to take him somewhat serious but I have a hard time doing that. What I do know is that he certainly uses Barry and sees everyone as a way to make money. Root is such an amazing actor and this role shows why. Carrigan as NoHo wants to be the king of everything and, like Fuches, will do whatever it takes and take out who ever it takes to make that happen. Another character who cracks me up!
Winkler as Gene is a joy to watch every moment he shows up on screen. As Gene he is overblown, over exaggerated and over the top as the acting coach that his class seems to need. Seeing something special in Sally, Gene reaches her in the deep recesses of her insecurities and brings out the best. His relationship with a cop makes things a little tense, especially for Barry. I am thrilled Winkler has a role like this where he can go all out and I’m all in!
Other cast include Gleen Fleshler as Goran Pazar, Darrell Britt-Gibson as Jermaine, Andy Carey as Eric, Rightor Doyle as Nick, D’Arcy Carden as Natalie, Mark Ivanir as Vacha, Marcus Brown as Vaughn and Nicholas Johnny as Theo.
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The DVD includes the episodes Chapter One: Make Your Mark, Chapter Two: Use It, Chapter Three: Make the Unsafe Choice, Chapter Four: Commit…To You, Chapter Five: Do Your Job, Chapter Six: Listen With Your Ears React With Your Face, Chapter Seven: Loud Fast and Keep Going, and Chapter Eight: Know Your Truth.
Barry was created by Alec Berg and Bill Hader and has won two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for Bill Hader and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Henry Winkler. Both well deserved and, if that isn’t enough, BARRY has been green lit for a second season.
I truly enjoyed this series because it is so different, unexpectedly twisted, funny, and never lets Barry take a moment off. Watching Hader take this character through all the hoops to get away from his profession is filled with pitfalls and emotional pratfalls.
The cast is exceptional together and make it look so smooth with all the twists and who wants who rubbed out. Watching Barry transition into what he thinks is a normal life, what better way than trade the drama of a hit man to the drama that can be found on stage and screen. His fellow students have their own drama to bring to the table so musical chairs of it all is the best of the series BARRY.
In the end – he is a hit man searching for some direction!