Giancarlo Esposito in the Netflix series Heist – The Hollywood Reporter
The story is retold on Netflix kaleidoscope is undeniably fascinating – a small group of thieves using a Category 4 hurricane as cover to make $7 billion in unsecured bonds – but even more attention-grabbing is how it told. Eric Garcia’s short series is designed so that viewers can watch its episodes in any order. Depending on which path you take, you’ll get a different perspective on what the show’s deepest mysteries are, which characters seem sympathetic or villainous, and whether certain beats play a crucial role. make or repay.
Or at least that’s the idea. And that’s a good way to work, at least in the sense that it’s actually possible to track what happens no matter how it turns out. Whether it actually elevates the story, however, is an entirely different question, and one with a rather less inspiring answer.
Lots of fuss for little bonus.
In part, the series lacks a commitment to detail. Gimmicks aside, the installments actually show a pretty simple linear progression. kaleidoscope‘s chapters, each named after a color, are not broken down by character or theme (this can make it really hard to figure out which sections to prioritize or organize clues from individual characters). red extract), but into separate time segments, with captions locating each person over the course of 24 years.
In that context, watching a season set on the morning after the heist (“Red”) preceded a few days earlier (“Blue”) — as I did — doesn’t feel like a similar experience. personalized performance rather than watching an orderly performance. My colleague Dan Fienberg recently wrote an opinion piece against abuse in res . media loopholes; zigzag through kaleidoscope basically turn it into a in res . media one after another, without the level of shock needed to make any of them worthwhile.
At least “Yellow,” set six weeks before the crime, turned out to be a good place for me to start watching the series like any movie. The segment begins with mastermind Leo (Giancarlo Esposito) as he sets out to execute his long-smiling criminal plans, assembling a team and gathering the money and equipment they need to execute them. presently. In the classic heist-horror genre, each recruit takes on a very interesting and specific role—driver, safe-cracker, chemist, etc. They work together to achieve the unthinkable.
Or, again, that’s the idea. In reality, kaleidoscope feels like a polished but forgettable two-hour movie nestled into a messy six-hour story. The main advantage of its unorthodox structure is that it helps to blur the generality of some of its constituent components. A side-scroll of the love triangle revolved around relationships so poorly outlined that I assumed I still hadn’t understood any of the final chapters that would explain these people. It wasn’t until I devoured the whole season that I realized that, no, the man at its heart had simply never been given an inner life in the first place.
Perhaps worse, the elements of that show do work tends to get lost in the mild but constant confusion caused by its approach. Esposito is a good anchor as Leo, able to simultaneously project tough authority and remove vulnerability, and his relationship with other key characters — like Roger (Rufus Sewell) , his rich merchant — takes on most of the emotional weight. But dispersing their chronology only makes it harder to track these journeys, thereby reducing their impact.
(And yes, I know I’m obnoxiously vague. If I’m calculating right, there are more than 5,000 possible ways to get through the season if you follow Netflix’s half-baked assertion that “White,” the cover including the theft itself, which counts as the end — or more than 40,000 if you decide to put that suggestion out the window. destructive” to anyone else.)
If used well, the time-jumping structure can create major twists and turns, introduce opposing points of view, bring us closer to the character’s inner turmoil, or draw parallels. thematic agreement between past and present. But with no way of knowing what audiences already know, the series keeps its mysteries so fundamental that they’re hardly considered mysteries. In one episode, the characters worry about the possibility of a mole between them; another, placed earlier in the timeline, gives who and why. A show held in a more traditionally styled fashion could have created breathless tension from the script, either way. kaleidoscope decided to skim the question so lightly that it became an afterthought.
If nothing else, creator Garcia deserves credit for his ambition. His series is one of the few that have managed to push the Netflix format in truly novel directions — along with that lesser-loved part of the series. Development caught where the season’s worth of events take place simultaneously and the adventure of your choice Black mirror.
And yes, OK, your mileage here may vary, depending on your personal preference for disorientation, or possibly depending on the installment order you choose in the end. I could only talk to the person I was with. From where I’m sitting, at the end of its zigzag journey through its plot, kaleidoscope just proves that a jigsaw approach to narrative maybe done – but not that there is any particular reason to do it.