Series: temptations on demand, with death announced.
OKAY. Not everything is about movies, and I must say that I am one of those who have succumbed to the temptation of devouring as much series as I can find in the world of streaming channels, widespread in our current universe. Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO are some of these channels that are offering us an important variety of series, which undoubtedly attract our attention and captivate us because there is more than one that are very good and seem to be really nice to get caught hours (and days) by them.
This universe doesn’t work the way Cinema works. They are stories that have an outcome, but with an open end for letting place for a next season development, written as production and public interest allow them.
In my view, the power of the Series Production Business is more ruthless than in Cinema Business, because a movie is a one time risk and, in that sense, it is a closed circle because there is nothing else to do once finished and released. A series, on the other hand, is a work whose end (or even whose possible outcome) is at the mercy of an external factor that cannot be clearly determined, because sometimes it’s not even the public reaction and is almost exclusively in the hands of those who make the numbers in the industry. In that sense, we are returning the power to the last century Hollywood in a 2.0 version.
Lately, we have heard the end of several series that have had a fleeting life. Series that have opted for diverse genres or for a particular way of telling a story. And Nicolas Winding Refn is serious about making his version of what a series is. Maybe that’s why it was what it was: a perhaps misunderstood by the industry wonder, whose purpose is to repeat the recipe as if instead of series, it was about making cakes. Here I leave what -in my point of view- the most brilliant series of this year left in my head.
Too Old to Die Young: A Jewel that will remain in the Desert.
The first thing that comes to mind with this series is the term Cadence, something like the rhythm of slow-motion blinking. Then comes the admiration for its exuberant aesthetics and the master handling of color, light and sound/music. This is nothing surprising, it is rather expected; because Nicolas Winding Refn has accustomed us to the millimeter use of these elements as a resource since it is used in practically all his films.
The plot is about a corrupt policeman who gets involved with various dark characters, who are slowly taking him to the abyss. This story can be understood as a sleazy reflection of today’s world, specifically set in the southern US border with Mexico, which can be read as a direct criticism of the American reality, and, at the same time, a conceptually nihilistic and brutal vision of our near future as a society in general.
The first 2 chapters are almost a test … to make the decision to continue or desist because each chapter takes an hour and a half and you have to enter the rhythm to continue with the remaining eight chapters which vary in duration between 30 minutes (the last) and an hour and a half. But it is worth it. Because as it progresses, it climbs in madness and violence, all deliciously shown, in addition to showing black humor that dislodges at the right time.
Filmed in a one-way timeline, the development of the script evolves as it was produced, and it shows. IIn fact, it is clear that NWR and Halley Gross, as they take a pulse in this new format, take attributions in the script that are translated into master sequences and, why not to say it, experiment with those that are in themselves small works of audiovisual art, whose aesthetic development is overwhelming. Both the cinematography made by Dharius Khondji and Diego García, as well as the art direction made by Jennifer Lukehart provide an atmosphere full of symbolic details that provide sensory background making us immerse in this beautiful and at the same time brutal contemporary universe on the edge of the Apocalypse, which you enter step by step and do not want to exit. And I mean step by step because here everything is about the rhythm: the eternal general planes, the dialogues, the deaths, the sex; Everything is inspired and exhaled deeply.
This is undoubtedly a risky bet, which is proven by the fact that it lasted only one season. And it hurts because there is so much more to see! It is one of those series in which you take flight and get to enjoy more and more, perceiving the turns that story takes and wish to see that promised apocalyptic moment, full of blood, fire, and fury without measure that is being stroked as if it were painting a picture that will be a masterpiece…, but that remains only in the outline. The second season is drawn and thought with that nostalgia of “what would have happened if …”
I was definitely left wanting more… But by way of comfort and knowing that this is the only season I appreciate having had the opportunity to enjoy the thirteen hours of this film shown as chapters of a book you don’t want to end.