Narcos 3+3 on Netflix
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After the review about Don’t Look Up and The Power of the Dog, I really want to share about another TV series that impressed me on Netflix- Narcos and Narcos: Mexico.
Narcos (2015-2017) shows in 3 seasons the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar’s drug empire. Narcos: Mexico (2018-2021) sets out to destroy Mexico’s most powerful drug channel.
What is so special about these 3 + 3 seasons, each with 10 episodes?
The first reason is good historical credibility. Of course, there is also creative fiction, but you more or less get an idea of how things were with the origin and trafficking of drugs in the 80s and 90s. The US drug market, which is in dire need of drugs, has fueled octopus-like organized crime in Colombia and Mexico. The governments of these countries are turning a blind eye and tolerating drug lords, up until the victims of the war between drug cartels are not growing among the general population. The American agency DEA is also fighting against the easily entering poison on American soil, but at some point the boundaries between the legal and the already dubious in their actions are blurred.
The second reason is the masterful acting. You don’t know any of the cast, except Pedro Pascal, whom we watched as the “Mandalorian”, in the Star Wars spin-off series, in “Game of Thrones” as Prince Oberin, and more recently in “Wonder Woman”. The actor was born in Chile, but to escape the Pinochet regime, his parents took him to the United States at an early age and he was raised in Orange County, California.
The other famous actor is Diego Luna, who impressed us in “Y tu mama tambien”. Everyone else is a not so famous from Mexican and other origins and all of them act great.
The actor who portrays in the first 30 episodes Pablo Escobar, the founder of the Medellin drug cartel, also known as the “King of Cocaine”, is Wagner Moura and is neither Colombian nor Mexican, but Brazilian. For the filming of the series he had to gain 18 kg, all of which he then lost. He has been nominated for a Golden Globe for this role.
Then in the first 2 seasons of the sequel “Mexico”, Diego Luna credibly develops the character of the living and to this day, convicted and imprisoned Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, El Jefe de Jefes (Boss of the Bosses), founder of the Guadalajara cartel, one of the most powerful drug traffickers in Mexico.
In the last third season, the structure of the drug channels is very fragmented, but the most far-sighted, cunning and resourceful is Amado Carrillo Fuentes, “El Señor de Los Cielos” (Lord of Heavens), a Mexican drug trafficker who had a huge aircraft fleet about drug smuggling. His character in the film is a visionary who earns the respect of partners and competitors. Amado is charismatic, cool, involved in a real romantic relationship, and somehow we unwittingly sympathize with him.
When I saw the actor performing Amado, José María Yazpik, in an interview, I was absolutely shocked. A totally different person, he speaks very smoothly, captivatingly, smiles kindly, has nothing to do with that tough macho and cold-blooded killer. The same goes for all other artists. During the interviews they communicate easily, directly, without pretensions and unnecessary posture, great straightforward. A fundamental difference from those oppressed people in the film who live in hopelessness, chaos, struggle for a little common sense in their lives, surviving daily in a constantly changing environment, and this applies to both criminals and people affected by this poignant reality.
The third reason to watch Narcos is that the series is very well done. Some of the scenes recreate exactly what actually happened. Jose Maria Yazpik witnessed it personally and has encountered occasionally some of the prototypes of the characters from the series. He claims that this is exactly what things looked like at the time, as they are presented in the series. Realism of the series creates the feeling that you are watching a documentary, but creatively polished to better understand the nature of the complex personalities of the characters. The most unpleasant thing is that it is not clear to date to what extent things have changed in these countries. The problems that have accumulated there seem to be unsolvable and continue to engulf innocent victims.
Narcos are like a bitter drink, opening your eyes to the terrible things that humanity is doing to itself and that it will never forgive itself, but it cannot stop doing. It’s bitter, but it’s addictive because it gives you interesting information in an artistic way on a topic that is supposedly local, but actually affects globally. So, without realizing it, you can watch … let see how many… 3 * 10 + 3 * 10 = 30 + 30 = 60 episodes. You can try binge-watching, but if you feel frustrated with the violence, take a break.
Lately Netflix announced that the team that created Narcos and Narcos: Mexico, Carlo Bernard, Chris Brancato, Doug Miro, also authors of The Great Wall, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and The Prince of Persia, are preparing to release another mini-series about the Queen of Drugs, nicknamed the Black Widow- Griselda Blanco. The role will be played by Colombian-American actress Sofia Vergara. What do you say huh? It will be interesting.
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