Review: Netflix's "Berlin" - A Prequel That Fails to Capture the Magic of Money Heist
Netflix's "Berlin," a prequel to the popular series Money Heist, assembles a talented cast and crew tasked with exploring the untold story of the intriguing character Berlin. Led by Pedro Alonso reprising his role, the ensemble includes Tristán Ulloa, Joel Sánchez, Begoña Vargas, Michelle Jenner, and Julio Peña Fernández. The creative direction is helmed by Álex Pina and Esther Martínez Lobato, aiming to provide audiences with insights into Berlin's past.
The narrative unfolds in the period preceding the events of Money Heist, following Berlin's audacious attempt to steal €44 million worth of jewels from a Parisian bank vault. However, the plot stumbles as it relies on coincidences and recycled characters from the parent series, lacking the freshness needed to establish its own identity. Despite introducing new characters like Michelle Jenner's Keila, the series struggles to distinguish itself from its predecessor.
Likes and Dislikes:
While Berlin endeavors to humanize its titular character, the execution falls short of expectations. Pedro Alonso's portrayal of Berlin remains a standout, injecting life into a narrative that often lacks vibrancy. However, the series disappoints with its overt borrowing of characters and a lack of originality, hindering its potential to stand independently. The exploration of misogynistic themes adds an uncomfortable layer, and the attempts to address these issues feel superficial, missing an opportunity for meaningful commentary.
Pedro Alonso's performance as Berlin stands out as a chaotic force, capturing the essence of the character with finesse. Alonso's ability to thrive in chaos provides moments of brilliance reminiscent of Money Heist. On the other hand, the ensemble cast, while energetic, faces the challenge of infusing life into characters that often feel like recycled versions from the original series.
In conclusion, Berlin falls short of the high expectations set by Money Heist, stumbling into a pit of mediocrity. Pedro Alonso's commendable performance salvages some pride for the series, showcasing the complexity and depth of Berlin's character. However, the lack of originality, a plot reliant on coincidences, and the perpetuation of problematic themes diminish the series' potential impact. The attempt to humanize Berlin results in a character study that lacks depth and purpose, ultimately overshadowing the series' potential to contribute meaningfully to the Money Heist universe. Given these shortcomings, Berlin receives a modest star rating of 2 out of 5.
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