Berlin Netflix Series Review: Netflix’s Attempt at the Money Heist Prequel

Berlin Review: For fans of the small screen realm, the anticipation surrounding spin-offs and prequels often comes with a sense of excitement, a chance to delve deeper into the characters and narratives that have captured our imaginations. However, Netflix’s attempt at the Money Heist prequel, aptly titled Berlin, appears to falter from the start, struggling with fundamental problems that hinder its potential as a compelling addition to the franchise.

The Dilemma of Humanizing Berlin

Set against the backdrop of a meticulously planned heist in Paris, Berlin, played once again by Pedro Alonso, faces the challenge of becoming a leading man after enjoying fan favorite status in the original series. The inherent problem lies in the attempt to humanize a character with less than human tendencies, a self-absorbed psychopath, without embracing the darker facets that made him intriguing. Berlin takes the well-trodden path of humanization, a choice that may alienate viewers looking for a bolder exploration of his complex personality.

Misogyny and Questionable Character Portrayals

A major obstacle for Berlin is its endorsement of misogynistic behavior, which perpetuates stereotypes that normalize harassment and portray female characters as naïve and easily manipulated. The series fails to confront the problematic nature of its characters, exemplified by a love story based on blatant harassment presented as normal flirting. The supposedly strong female characters are victims of one-dimensional representations, perpetuating outdated notions of love and desire.

Plot Disarray and Illogical Twists

Berlin’s plot suffers from illogical twists and a tendency to prioritize “cool” scenes over narrative coherence. The series, like its predecessor, sacrifices logical storytelling for sensational moments, resulting in a host of eye-rolling situations. Coincidences abound and the story is based on invention, marking a departure from the hallmarks of a well-crafted narrative. The central heist, intended as a meticulous plan, loses its luster amid a series of inconsistent character behaviors and unnecessary distractions.

Performance Dynamics and Lackluster Execution

Despite a promising premise established in 1993, the execution in Berlin does not live up to expectations. The cast, including Pedro Alonso, navigate a narrative rife with missed opportunities. The attempt to create tension within an interrogation room shows brilliant moments, particularly with Ishwak Singh’s portrayal of a deaf character. However, the film struggles to maintain its momentum and often succumbs to filler scenes that dilute the overall tension.

Verdict: A Missed Opportunity

In essence, Berlin is a missed opportunity to elevate the Money Heist universe. While certain performances shine, particularly Ishwak Singh’s nuanced performance, the overall narrative fails to deliver a cohesive and engaging mystery thriller. The series struggles with issues of character representation, narrative coherence, and a penchant for superficial twists, which detract from its potential as a compelling prequel. As echoes of the ambitious Berlin heist resonate, viewers wonder if Netflix’s gamble on this prequel will pay off in later seasons.

Series Details:

Release Date:December 29, 2023
Creators:Esther Martínez Lobato, Álex Pina
Main Cast:Najwa Nimri, Itziar Ituño, Pedro Alonso, Michelle Jenner
Genres:Crime, Action, Drama

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