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Review | Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese are back with the crazy sci-fi thriller “1899”

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In 2017, Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese introduced the world to one of Netflix’s most complex and beloved series – the sci-fi drama “Dark”, a celebration of all the classic stories of the genre that is essentially about the conspiracy. theories of time and the existence of paths that connect past, present and future. Five years later, the duo return to the mainstream scene with the long-awaited release of ‘1899’, a production that starts from a similar principle and which, despite apparent errors, is an energizing construction carried by a strong cast and a twist. shocking that rows against everything we expected.

With little promotional material, the first season is set in the late 19th century and revolves around a group of passengers aboard the Kerberos, all heading to New York to start a new life. Among the many people aiming to conquer what they have always wanted, we have Maura Henriette (Emily Beecham), one of the first doctors in the United Kingdom whose specialization in neurology leads her to cross the ocean and try to find out what happened to his brother, who mysteriously disappeared on another ship called the Prometheus; Captain Eyk Larsen (Andreas Piestchmann), whose trauma led him to make inappropriate decisions on behalf of the passenger crew; Ángel (Miguel Bernardeau), a wealthy young Spaniard who travels with Ramiro (José Pimentão), both hiding a secret that could destroy his reputation; Ling Yi (Isabella Wei), a mysterious woman from China who poses as a member of the Japanese bourgeoisie to reach the Americas; and many others.

Despite the personal issues they face in the opening episode, things get even more complicated when they cross paths with Prometheus and Eyk, accompanied by a task force formed by Maura, Franz (Isaak Dentler), Jerome (Yann Gael) and More, resolves to investigate what happened – only to find that every member of the crew simply disappeared and left nothing behind. That is, except for a young boy (Fflyn Edwards) who is rescued and brought back to Kerberos. It is from there that bizarre events begin to occur, from an unfathomable fog that prevents them from continuing their journey, to a silent disease that decimates one by one until no one is left alive. .

Considering this to be an incursion by Odar and Friese, the explanations would not appear as a magic pass, but would be part of a deep anthropological analysis underpinned by themes such as class struggle, trauma psychological and a need for self-destructive independence. The main plot key is Maura, who feels an aphiguric connection to the boy and to a man named Daniel (Aneurin Barnard), who boarded the ship and shapeshifted into one of the passengers believing that no one would notice his ominous presence while walking. through the hallways. But Maura steals the show as she becomes increasingly embroiled in some kind of conspiracy that leads her to realize that her father, Henry (Anton Lesser), is responsible for this inescapable prison on the high seas.

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The eight chapters are described as a way of highlighting the protagonists of a multilingual ceremony that permeates the different cultures spread across the planet; however, the apparent obstacle between the characters is soon swept under the rug: they are all in the same boat (no pun intended) and share a nightmare experience, from which they cannot escape, no matter how hard they try. The liner’s majestic configuration is reduced to a claustrophobic maze that takes them from nowhere to nowhere, as if imprisoned in a sadistic study of a vengeful, loveless creator. It’s no surprise that this understanding is the spark that ignites a powder keg of resentment and puts everyone in imminent danger.

Friese and Odar not only embark headlong into a terrifying sci-fi adventure, but also try to balance drama, action and romance in an epic that celebrates freedom and life. However, it is necessary to comment on the technical and artistic slippages that have spread over the episodes – such as the questionable choice of soundtrack and certain disposable sequences that only exist to fill in possible holes in the script and give a false impression. continuous rhythm. Despite popular belief, the results are rather positive and prepare us for a second season which should provide some answers (especially with a finale that confuses us more than it provides explanations).

“1899” may not be a perfect series, but it delivers on its promise and knows exactly how to drag viewers into one of the craziest forays of the year. The main thing he enjoys is the cast, which offers impeccable performances, and a culture of angst that leaves us on the brink of a panic attack – and makes us create different theories about what the future holds. awaits us.

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