Director Baran bo Odar and screenwriter Jantje Friese contributed Dark to the expansion of non-English speaking fiction in the international market. Science fiction lovers, wherever they came from, found a puzzle in a German-language story about time travel, which drew on the obsession with the eighties and which, together with The Money Heistbegan an offensive against the prejudices of an audiovisual market dominated by the Americans.
With 1899his new production for Netflix after the success of Dark In the catalogue, they repeat the move: an ensemble cast, a striking premise, and a multitude of clues and suspicions so that the viewer becomes obsessed with putting the pieces together. The setting is an ocean liner with hundreds of migrants on board in search of a new life in America, but when another ocean liner from the same company that had disappeared without explanation four months before crosses its path, they find themselves struggling to reach their destination.
The setting is an ocean liner with hundreds of migrants in search of a new life that alter their route after finding a liner that disappeared without a trace.
The mentality that led bo Odar and Friese, a couple in real life, to write this starting point is interesting: they wanted to produce a story with professionals from all over Europe to work and create together and thus counteract the divisive instinct of the continent after Brexit . And, blowing up the customs of this kind of productions, the languages of the characters, who come from London but belong to all corners of Europe, are respected. “We never wanted to have characters from different countries but all speak English,” they explained.
The protagonist is Emily Beecham (into the badlands) like Maura, a British neurologist who cannot practice the profession because she is a woman and who suffered torture in the name of medicine. She has reasons for being precisely on that boat, interested in finding out what happened to the crew members of the missing ship. The German Andreas Pietschmann, recovered from Darkplays the captain of the ship who, like all those present on the high seas, lives trapped by his past.
The cast is completed by the Danish Lucas Lynhhaard Tønnesen as a humble third-class passenger who has a strange scar on his face and travels with his very religious family; there are two Chinese women, Isabella Wei and Gabby Wong, who are obsessed with keeping up appearances; Mathilde Ollivier and Jonas Bloquet as an ill-matched French couple; Rosalie Craig as an observant British lady; the Portuguese José Pimentão as a man posing as a priest; and, finally, Miguel Bernardeau from Madrid who, after leaving Eliteplays a wealthy passenger who cannot afford not to reach his destination.
Perhaps the cast allows English, Danish, German, Polish, Cantonese, Spanish, Portuguese and French to be spoken and justifies the look of bo Odar and Friese to attract viewers from many corners of the European Netflix market. However, beyond the ideological anecdote of the creators, what makes the story less effective is that it is not built around these characters.
With Miguel Angel Bernardeu
Beyond the ideological anecdote of the creators to have an international cast, what makes the story less effective is that it is not built around these characters
As it happened with Dark, the story is driven by mysterious symbols (this time, triangles), a priori inexplicable facts, flashbacks to the past to be revealed, disturbing children, suspicious looks and even green beetles that, when they appear, trigger more strange events. That is, with 1899 they repeat the maneuver of placing one hook after another and, while the characters are tortured, cruel or taciturn, profound reflections are heard a priori.
The formula, after having seen Dark (up to a certain point), it is especially crystal clear and viewers looking for stories or emotion in audiovisual fiction have nowhere to hold on: the characters, instead of making decisions, move according to the pieces that they must reveal, hint or fit bo Adar and Friese. And, since on top of that they are delighted to complicate the understanding of the real plot of the series as much as possible, it remains a pretentious and empty exercise in mystery.
As the creators are happy to complicate the understanding of the real plot of the series as much as possible, it remains a pretentious and empty exercise in mystery.
Of course, the fans of Darkthey have new material with which to speculate.
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‘1899’: The new Netflix series is ideal for fans of ‘Dark’ (and burdensome for the rest)