Director: Jose Padilha
As with House of Cards, Bloodline and just one or two others from the Netflix-commissioned shows there’s a demand for Narcos, one of the brand’s go-to/must-see shows. And so here, now, Season One is available on DVD. If you’ve waited this long (Season Two is up on the network in its entirety) you’ll possibly be forking for that Netflix account straight after viewing this compulsive, propulsive docu-drama.
Pablo Escobar, Colombia’s drug lord across the late 1980s and 1990s was a brutal force. He build schools and covered some of his tracks with philanthropic gestures but he was a murderer (cold blooded) and at the absolute peak of his baron-days was in charge of a processing system that accounted for over 15m tons of cocaine every day. He was catapulted to the Forbes billionaire list. When he opted for jail it was only under the condition that he build his own holding cell – a castle on the hill. A government with its hands tied behind its back agreed, meaning Escobar’s home detention consisted of games of pool, booze and drug-fuelled parties and no armed forces allowed within a couple of miles.
What makes Narcos all the more compelling – 10 episodes in each of its seasons to date – is the strive for an authenticity: shot on location, subtitled for the most part and blending real news footage with the filmed recreations this has the slickness of all your favourite “Golden Era of TV” shows with some genuine documentary grit and feel.
Wagner Moura is sensational as Escobar – a man of quiet torment. And from what we’re able to see in the episodes the casting job of finding near-lookalikes for the principals was amazing.
There’s a lot of blood in these episodes. And it continues on – the body count piling, the brutality of the killing increasing. But it’s been must-watch TV in our house.
A small gripe about the DVD is that it shouldn’t require four discs for a 10-episode series given the bonus materials are not exhaustive. There’s a nice behind-the-scenes featurette that shows the shooting on location and some language-barrier issues for the cast and crew, but it hardly justifies four discs’ worth.
That complaint only comes from being used to a series rolling over and into the next episode before the credits conclude.
Narcos is one of the best TV shows I’ve seen in a while.