Money Heist

Rating :   ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Categorisation: crime drama

Availability: Netflix – Spanish subtitled

Plot:  Created by Álex Pina, Money Heist (La Casa De Papel) is a 2017 suspenseful crime drama developed by the Spanish network, Antena 3. According to The Guardian, it’s the most-watched non-English language show worldwide.  An enigmatic genius, the Professor, brings together eight unlikely criminals to pull off the biggest heist in history – the robbery of the Spanish Mint. It’s an Ocean 11-style operation, five months in the planning. The team is trained by the Professor at his isolated hideaway, a beautiful stone mansion. No one is allowed to know each other’s names – they each take the name of a capital city – and strict rules apply. We watch them being educated, as the Professor covers off every last detail. The heist is perfectly constructed, and the Professor is cool and rational. That is, of course, before human emotions step in, rules break down, and things start to fall apart.

Cast: The series revolves around the Professor, played wonderfully by Álvaro Morte. But in fact, every one of the group of eight carry their roles off with aplomb. Pedro Alonso is terrifically menacing as Berlin. Nairobi is delightful as she gets the best out of her hostage workers, while the young members of the team, Tokyo, Rio and Denver are passionate and hot-headed. In fact, we get to know and care about them all. Relationships happen – with hostages, other team members, and even the police. The dramatic and complicated relationship between the Professor and Inspector Raquel Murillo, played brilliantly by Itziar Ituño, is a major feature of the story as each manage the incredible twists and turns of the plot and their cat-and-mouse roles within it. 

Filming and setting:  The drama is set mainly in the Spanish Royal Mint, or at least the studio version of it, and it’s immediate surrounding environment. The hostages and the team of 8 are (mostly) inside, with flashbacks to their hideaway training. The Professor is master-minding the whole operation from close by, and for the police it is a stakeout. Cinematography is great, and the music and sound effects add effectively to the overall tension of the series. 

Personal Comments:

As soon as the heist team arrive wearing Salvador Dalí masks you know you are in for a classy series. On top of that it’s exciting. Álex Pina has said of Money Heist, “I can promise the audience will not think of Covid-19 while watching it” …and he is absolutely right!  The plot is taut and thrilling. Every one of its twenty-two episodes, executed in two parts, is tense and action-packed. It leaves the Ocean 11 series well and truly in the dust, taking the heist genre to another level. It isn’t perfect. There will be times when you think things are more than a little fanciful. But it’s all about the clever plot and if you are prepared to suspend disbelief here and there you will find yourself right in the middle of it. You will be engaged with the characters, embroiled in their humorous, often poignant, joyful, and tragic journeys as they attempt the heist of the century. It’s setting in a broader context of government and neoliberal corruption adds another layer to the plot, pushing us to work out who we are really cheering on in this complex and riveting series. By the way, if you decide to take a look, watch the Spanish version with subtitles. You definitely lose something of the Mediterranean passion when you watch the dubbed version. 

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