Melissa Barrera Can’t Save Netflix’s Survival Drama Sketchy – The Hollywood Reporter

For TV critics, this week’s theme is new, less tumultuous versions of some of the noisiest shows of the past year. It will be an interesting game to see how many reviews discuss Peacock’s Resort without mentioning HBO’s White Lotus in the first paragraph (when the more relevant comparison is actually Apple TV + Acapulco) or by Amazon Paper girl without mentioning Netflix’s Strange things (when the more relevant comparison is actually Netflix’s Babysitter Club).

The answer is probably close to “no”. (I won’t even try when it comes to Paper girl.)

Key point

Barrera shines, but don’t expect this series to survive in the wilds of TV.

I have at least succeeded in avoiding mentioning Showtime’s Yellow jacket until a few sentences in my review of Netflix Keep breathingthe so-called limited series, most easily described as a one-woman version of Yellow jacket without any sensational – or “fun”, if you like – aspects created Yellow jacket an Emmy-nominated mini-feel. No ritual cannibalism, a killer ’90s soundtrack, or the closeness of the supernatural? No problem!

i admired Keep breathing for omitting – six episodes, under 40 minutes each, making it the TV version of The Peak that puts your name on a grain of rice – integrity and for the latest confirmation of Melissa Barrera’s always-watched star power . But I kept waiting for the show to find a better motive or a more surprising emotional device that never came to fruition.

Created by LA Complex veterans Marin Gero and Brendan Gall, Keep breathing stars Barrera as Liv, a Manhattan lawyer desperately trying to get to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories for reasons that will eventually become apparent, if never quite amusing. Liv is hatching a big secret or two, which will become important after she has to hitch a ride on a small plane with shady George (Mike Dopud) and Sam (Austin Stowell), who immediately becomes completely irrelevant when the plane crashes somewhere in the Canadian wilderness.

Abandoned with no supplies or skills, apart from his religious resolve, Liv must find a way back to civilization. Along the way, Liv uses flashbacks involving her boring and flighty mother (Florencia Lozano), bored and sick father (Juan Pablo Espinosa) and boring and impulsive boyfriend. (Jeff Wilbusch) to realize that for all the dangerous flora and fauna and the scarcity of resources, what really holds her back is a series of very rudimentary psychological deadlocks. It was impossible to unearth anything she revealed about her commitment issues, neglected complexities, and various occupational compulsions that could not be unearthed during the first hour of therapy, but Liz is a very busy lawyer who is about to learn a valuable lesson that sometimes the most dangerous wilderness is the uncharted human soul. Or something.

Sometime in the first few episodes, Keep breathing hints at more dramatic drama, without resorting to episodes that tend to replace “seeking for shelter” or “foraging” in filmed survival stories. There is a bear. George and Sam work for some people with terrifying abilities. One of Liv’s secrets is particularly precarious. But every time you start to think this is the time Keep breathing past its very basic hook, it quickly retreated. So many survival stories feel inexplicable (to me) needing to add a bonus when “live and die” is theoretically enough. But if I never understood before why people thought the genre required misplaced polar bears or terrifying human sacrifices to add to the tension, perhaps now I have. do?

If the extremes here lie somewhere between a tease and an afterthought, and psychological exploration no deeper than the crystal clear lake that becomes a haven for Liv’s plane, then the biological tool existence is only rudimentary. The broad interpretation is that the series “works”. If Liv finds herself looking at a pair of earrings, you know the earrings are only used as hooks two or three scenes. If a bear throws rocks on the beach, you can be sure it’s not just for those who chuckle when they slip. Settle down and wait for the compensation of the bear Chekhov. Sometimes you get impatient when Liv doesn’t realize the use of all the too coincidental items that directors Maggie Kiley and Rebecca Rodriguez introduced in the close-up shots, but Keep breathing It’s not about keeping the audience waiting, nor is it about making Liv overwork.

My most frequent move lately has been to say that various limited series are better in the form of movies, but Keep breathing wouldn’t have performed better as a movie. Still, it will probably be a very interesting book – preferably one written in the first person so that Liv’s inner journey through her troubled past can feel organic instead. relieve suspense whenever she goes from justifiably panicking at her predicament to recalling her hesitation to flirt with Wilbusch’s Danny or nagging insecurities that she will become a mother I tend to be my father. On the page, all will be filtered through her memories, as opposed to on the screen, where you can’t help but notice that even if Keep breathing entirely Liv’s story, a lot of time is spent on poorly written supporting characters that no supporting performance emerges even the least memorable.

Again, one could choose to generously explain that since Liv doesn’t know herself, she can’t know the people in her flashback either. And since her isolation is at least 25 percent metaphorical, it makes no sense to give her richly perceived cards to interact with.

After proving her mettle like a vulnerable sex bomb, self-destructive in Vidaexploding the charm of the song and choreography in In the heights and a queen that screams proficiently in Screaming, Keep breathing shows that Barrera can hold onto her opposite one-dimensional co-stars and capture stunning nature photos. There’s something over-polished and almost doll-like about the version of Liv that we see in flashbacks and later, mirroring Barrera’s acting journey, something that’s both fun and entertaining. interesting as Liv removes the pitfalls of her Manhattan personality to discover something raw and resilient. Barrera’s wide eyes convey Liv’s curious reaction to her new environment and, in a series not designed to be humorous, her reactions are amusing at times. Barrera holds the camera confidently and I appreciate how she continues to choose to show different sides of her acting arsenal, although it’s time for someone to take a look at her previous work. and gave her some sort of Voltron role that combines everything she does well.

Barrera must bring Keep breathing in a way that no actor is involved Yellow jacket have to do, and she reinforces that level of heavy lifting. Unfortunately, Liv’s plot has to carry Keep breathing in a way that no single comparable archive has ever had to carry Lost. If you don’t care about the origin of Jack’s tattoos, a difference Lost flashback is only a week away, but if you’re not invested in Liv’s various insecurities, there’s nothing else here. Too often, when it comes to Keep breathingthere’s nothing else there – not the six speed episodes that, with their beautiful cinematography and solid lead performance, have ever left viewers heartbroken.

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