Friday, 23 November 2018

TV Review: La Casa de Papel

There's been a lot of TV bingeing going on in our house over the last few months, as now that the stresses of the first half of the year have died down, we've been catching up with shows that we started and loved and never quite finished. La Casa de Papel is a fine example of this - brilliant, complex, utterly engrossing, and requiring a little more brain cells as you keep up with the subtitles which doesn't make it good TV viewing whilst you're trying to fold paper cranes...

But I digress.
This is a show that almost everyone seems to have watched/be in the process of watching/have heard amazing things about and are planning to watch. It's crept in everywhere. It's been one of Netflix's most binged shows for months. And it deserves every single bit of hype and more, because this is a case of a genuinely brilliant show.

It's the kind of show that is best unspoiled, so I'll keep this vague. Suffice to say this is one of the best shows I've seen this year. It's clever, it's slick, brilliantly plotted and filmed, and it keeps you guessing right up until the final moment.
It is genuinely worth the time invested in it, and is filled with breathless anticipation, pulse racing moments, and a suffocating sense of dread that permeates every scene the longer the group are trapped inside.

The heist formula is one we've seen many times before -a group of eight misfits with slightly illegal talents are rounded up by a mysterious figure known only as the Professor, to undertake a heist that he has spent years planning. So far so cliché. Yet once we get beyond that original idea, the entire thing soars. The character's are fleshed out into eight individual real people. Everyone is morally grey. There are no 'good guys' and 'bad guys' as the con-artists work on the inside in a truly brilliantly intricate plotted scheme, and the police work outside to try and foil them.
Every time you think the police are about to win, some additional layer to the scheme comes to light, and it is glorious to behold.

But the longer the heist goes on, the more the cabin fever sets in, the sleep deprivation gets the better of people, and tempers start to fray and schemes unravel. It's a claustrophobic look at a curious group of people, as tensions mount and you genuinely don't know who you want to come out on top. The Professor works from the outside to try and keep his plan afloat, but all throughout his brilliant scheme he didn't really consider the variable reality of having eight people living and breathing this heist. Those individuals add new dimensions and layers, and he's often scrambling to keep up.

It's a truly brilliant show. Compelling, with some of the best plotting I've seen on a show in some time, and a truly stellar cast. Whilst the series is narrated by Tokyo, it is a truly ensemble piece as every character has time invested in their development, and you find yourself caring, or at least sympathising, with almost everyone you've spent this claustrophobic and tense time with. Now I've finished I feel somewhat bereft, I'm going to miss this oddball bunch.I cannot recommend it enough.

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