Monday, 5 October 2015

"Narcos" (2015) seasons 1,2,3

A chronicled look at the criminal activity and many sides of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

Intriguing, like watching the 2005 documentary Cocaine episodes 1,2 and 3 Viva la Coca, An Honest Citizen, Leo and Ze respectively mixed with Scarface. With some genuine photos and footage of the day briefly inserted into episodes you get reminded that what you're watching is a good rendition of what happened. As the story unfolds you get a sense of the many viewpoints and different levels of both the government and Narcos. The series depicts the Colombian drug cartels power and gives a sense of its reach across the globe.

There are great performances from a relatively unknown but stellar cast including Wagner Moura (Elite Squad) as Pablo Escobar. Boyd Holbrook (Run All Night) whose resemblance to the real Steve Murphy is uncanny and Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones) Narcos exceed expectations.

On the backdrop of the finely recreated late 70s, 80s and 90s it's violent, tension filled and fuelled with emotion. While Miami Vice was fiction and ripping stories from the headlines it showed the effects of the drugs on the streets. This shows semi-factually to an extent through dramatisation how they got there and just how characters are a shade of grey. While the accents may not be perfect each fast paced episode is well written, has great production values and with a shot on location feel it gives the proceedings weight. 

It's certainly one to watch driven by its true life subject matter and an inevitable second series.

The second season, spends much more time with Escobar, is more of a manhunt as Pablo's empire falls apart and there is less of Murphy's narration and the DEA. You see the effect on the families and anyone involved. It has the same on location feel and production values remain as it remains 90's setting to a predestined conclusion. 

The third series follows the Cali cartel and is of the same high quality set on the backdrop of the Clinton administration. Violence, corruption aplenty as two new DEA agents are assisted by the Cali family head of security. Emotional at times season 3 ticks all the boxes. By default Pablo is not present and actor Boyd Holbrook doesn't return however Pedro Pascal does (in a fictional hybrid of real life people) as Pena once again. Packed with faces from season 1 and 2 the acting and production is first rate, notable are Pepe Rapazote in an intense small role as Jose and Edward James Olmos cameos. The season closes opening the way for a Mexican set 4th season. Highly recommend.

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