Sacred Games | Netflix | A Indian Thriller that would go toe to toe with any other series out there !

A stellar cast, a fluid narrative and no over-the-top Bollywood heroism and lo we have the first India based Netflix Original that can truly compete with the rest of the world. Before we even go into the details of the series I would like to pause for a moment and express my awe for Nawazuddin Siddiqui, the true focal point of the entire series. 

The series begins with Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan ) a honest-downbeat  Mumbai policeman who is going through a rough patch with his peers, superiors and life in whole, getting a call from a notorious gangster Ganesh Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who gets him going on a wild goose chase. Ganesh claims that the country is going to burn in a matter of 25 days and with that he takes his own life. Anjali Mathur (Radhika Apte), a RAW analyst chances upon the exchange and joins the hunt with the motive of proving herself as a field agent as well as protecting the country. 

Co-directed by Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap the series draws two parallel universes one which depicts the rise to power of Ganesh Gaitonde and body trail he left behind in his wake and the other the 25 day countdown to doomsday. It’s a credit to the story teller when he is able to easily mix both timelines and stories so seamlessly and provide us with a compelling narrative that keeps us glued till the very end.

The series also boasts of some out of the ordinary support cast performance by Neeraj Kabi (Parulkar), Jitendra Joshi (Katekar) , Shalini Vatsa (Kanta Bai), Anil Charanjeett (Chota) and Jatin Sarna (Bunty). Every single one of these characters riddled with shades of gray and are fighting their own demons. I do not remember the last time when every single member of the acting crew of an Indian production provided us with such a compelling performance. I would even go on to add that this is probably the best performance of Saif Ali Khan since, I do not know when 🙂 . Radhika Apte, although a lead character, was notoriously underutilized in the series. Despite all the above Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Ganesh Gaitonde stood out as the stand out performer in what I would term as a revolution for Indian television. 

The series might hit a few nerves with the honesty in which certain aspects of our Indian way of life like religion, politics and history are handled but all I have is respect for the makers for spitting out things as they are, in all its earnestness.

It’s not without it flaws as well. The parallel narrative where Gaitonde tells his story to Satraj gives some insight into Gaitonde’s past but does not really explain to us how it places itself in the story. The way the first season ended left us with a lot of questions and it would be a disaster if Netflix chooses not to renew ‘Sacred Games’ for a second season.

I would rate Sacred Games as one of the very best i have seen of Indian television and would suggest this to anybody interested in crime, thriller, mystery genre. For the folks who do not understand hind/marathi/punjabi ,- Netflix has done a wonderful job with English audio as well. There is nothing stopping you 🙂

Netflix Original | The Forest | La forêt | A french thriller circled around a beautiful village.

When a 16 year old school student Jennifer goes missing, Captain Gasper Decker (Samuel Labartheand  his team goes about investigating. All that they have as lead is the phone call received by the ever mysterious french teacher Eva Mendel (Alexia Barlier) right before the girls disappearance.  The series is entirely in french, but was riveting enough for me to ignore that fact.  It comes with the usual share of mystery, lies and thrill. 

The 6 episode series starts pretty strongly with the first two episodes moving the story along at a brisk pace. All the characters are introduced and some of the prime suspects are introduced and nullified in quick succession. The story takes a turn when the missing child ends up dead and that is followed by two more girls going missing. The story, as the title says centers around a forest in the outskirts of the village where there had been instances of kids gone missing decades ago.

The series however loses its pace as quickly as it had gained it and the next couple of episodes were slow and meandering aimlessly until it gains momentum yet again to end pretty strongly in the 5th and 6th. The makers did close out most of the loopholes surrounding the narrative and some of the ‘surprise elements’ were quite guessable.

This limited mini-series is yet another super catch by Netflix and it pretty much holds its own among other Netflix bigwigs like Dark, The Five, Broadchurch et all, for most of it. The character development, the cast, the locations and bgm were all top notch and thoroughly enjoyable even though i did not understand a word of what was said. I would suggest it for anybody who is into the Netflix genre of mystery series.

Cargo | Netflix | The Martin Freeman Starrer Australian Zombie movie fails to impress.

The Martin Freeman starer, Cargo fails to set itself aloof from the 101 million other Zombie movies that the world has seen till now. The movie is set in South Australia where a plague has ravaged the human population and left most of the places littered with Zombies and hence uninhabitable. It’s the quest of the father Andy (played by Martin Freeman) to protect his infant child from the zombies and get her to safety.

Cargo has high production value and the South Australian scenic beauty captured at its best. The characters, although very few, were all perfect in their roles. Even with all that it was at best short film material that was stretched way beyond necessary to make a film out of it. It’s watchable and yet falls well short of expectations. Go for it, if you have nothing else to do over the weekend.

Safe | Netflix Original | Harlan Coben played it safe on this one.

If The Five , Sherlock and Dexter did not intrigue you enough to give it a go at the new  Netflix Original Safe , i doubt anything would. Harlan Coben’s Safe sticks to the generic formula that worked so well in The Five and is a pretty interesting watch. It, however, does not follow the upward trajectory in terms of entertainment factor as in the case of ‘the five’. 

Safe is set in a suburban British gated community where all the main characters of the story live.  The story gets rolling when a girl goes missing from the community. In typical Coben style there are a few other characters, all with their own share of secrets that form the crux of the story. In the end everything is connected, some less convincingly than others.

After a brief hiatus, Michael C. Hall returns as the main character Tom Delaney , a widower and parent of two kids in Safe. Unlike the weird neighborhood serial-killer Dexter, here he is on the run searching for his missing daughter. The brilliant and beautiful Amanda Abbington (Mary Watson – Sherlock) plays the role of Sophie Mason, who is the love interest of Tom and at the same time the police officer heading the investigation of the missing girl and the murder of the boyfriend.

It felt like watching ‘the five’ and ‘broadchurch’ all over again, except ‘Safe’ was not as intriguing. Some really good performances and the ‘glitter and gold’ theme song sort of made up for the shortcoming though. If you are aware of Coben’s style of connecting something from a distant past to the present, the suspense is there to be guessed. I would recommend this if you are into mysteries and love binge-watching something that has a proper ending.

Deadpool 2 | A love story for the families, NOT.

Deadpool 2 was one of the movies that we were waiting for since it was announced. We did manage to book tickets for the first day. It sure did deliver what it promised. It’s an ode to the content of the script and comic timing of the actor that Ryan Reynolds is. There was not a single dull moment in the entire movie and yet it was not ‘breath-taking’ or ‘out-of-the-world’ by any means. The story line is hardly something to applaud but the dialogues and scenes make it interesting.  I would go to the extent of saying that it is a movie spoof through and through and yet it is so original that you laugh till you cry !  Pssst..It has the best ever mid-credit scene of any marvel movie. 


Deadpool dies or does he ?? Its not a spoiler if I leave it as a Open ended question ! Morena Baccarin should have had more screen time. But hey, it is not her movie – so I guess I cannot complain.

Josh Brolin (Nathan Summers / Cable), turned out to be nothing like Thanos. His backstory was inaptly handled and there definitely was no brooding sense of villainy surrounding him. He was the perfect ‘deadpool-villain’. There were some other surprises as well with the cameo appearances from Brad Pitt and Hugh Jackman . Brad Pitt’s appearance was a blink and you miss it one. Even though i saw the character, I failed to recognize him but my partner shouted out ‘Brad Pitt’.  

Zazie Beetz , rocked the role of Domino and kept on proving that luck is indeed a super power. Julian Dennison as Russell, the ‘kid who must be saved’ had some really goofy, off-the-charts moments with Deadpool. 

Deadpool goes about making a mockery of everything under the sun including but not limited to DC, Batman, Marvel, Thanos, Green Lantern and Ryan Reynolds.

I would recommend it to anybody who loved the first installment as it is more of the same. You can go in with head full of problems and come out with an clear head along with the satisfaction that you laughed your brains out to some of the wittiest dialogues delivered by some of the best in business.

Best Scene:
Someone: Who are you?
Deadpool: Batman!

Anon | Netflix | Another decent futuristic thriller

A dark, futuristic Sci-fi thriller Anon sticks to age old streamlined story telling.  Anon hinges on the idea that anonymity is a thing of the past and that its impossible for anybody to get away with a crime as both the perpetrator and the victim both have every single second of their life available and recorded for the officers of the law. What you see is a digital footprint in itself. Everything is pretty much an open and shut case before the investigation even sets off ! Then, however, things go for a toss when you no longer can believe what you see. Yes, Anon pretty much deals with the hacking of the human mind.

Sal Frieland (Clive Owen) is a detective who investigates murders and is pretty good at it. Things change when he is called into a crime scene where the last few moments that a victim had seen through her eyes was what the perpetrator saw through his/her eyes. A series of such murders and a chance encounter with a anon, led the investigators to believe that a lady (Amanda Seyfried) was the common denominator in all the crimes. Amanda’s character is a human mind hacker who can erase the memories and replace them with fresh memories. The rest of the story is a well paced thriller which sticks to the usual dark setting corresponding to every Netflix Futuristic Movie/Series.

I would suggest this as a one time watch to anyone interested in thrillers. Clive Owen and Amanda Seyfried are good in their roles, as expected and background music is pretty engaging throughout.


Money Heist | La casa de papel | Netflix | A classic thriller with more oomph than dud moments.

Money Heist came in as a highly recommended series , by many of my friends and it did not disappoint. Its an ‘almost masterpiece’ which at times failed to keep up with the dizzying plot build up that it had over the first few episodes. It’s about a group of robbers spearheaded by the meticulous mastermind ‘El Profesor’ (Álvaro Morte) who plans to rob the ‘The Royal Mint’ by printing 2.4 billion Euros and thereby accomplishing the biggest heist ever !

Like most of the heist stories of our times, the group is carefully assembled together from scratch by the brain of the whole operation and here its the Professor. He teaches and prepares the team of robbers for 6 months so that they can pull off the perfect heist and go by their chosen city names. Thus, the calm and composed  Berlín (Pedro Alonso), hothead and narrator/heroine Tokio (Úrsula Corberó) , genius counterfeiter Nairobi ( Alba Flores),  computer whizkid Río (Miguel Herrán) , the father son duo of Denver and Moscow and the muscles of the twin brothers come together to take hostages and lock out the Royal Mint as they go about their business of printing Money. On the other side of the fence is the brilliant Raquel Murillo ( Itziar Ituño) who heads the investigation against the Professors team. 

Money Heist has its fair share of ups and downs throughout and some of the plot twists could not have been timed any better. Even with all that what got to my nerve is the fact that is the character of Tokio, from whose point of view the whole heist is explained. Every single time something goes south in the plan we know whom to point to fingers at and this was probably a masterstroke by the creator  Álex Pina. It always add to the intrigue when you dislike the main character and yet love the plot. 

I ended up binge watching both the seasons of ‘Money Heist ‘ and loved it for most parts. If you are into thriller genre and can ignore a few unwanted (read – boring) scenes you would end up loving the series like I did. The fact that they ended it properly after the second season is a huge plus point and this is something I would definitely recommend to anybody who love thrillers and can ignore small deficiencies and yeah, the writers definitely believed in the phrase ‘love is blind and stupid’.


Lost in Space Review | Netflix’s first authentic foray into Disney territory.

Lost in Space , is not your regular Sci-fi, supernatural Netflix Original. It’s more of a family friendly, time-pass, high-production-value, yet flawed series which makes you feel that somebody made it for Disney and ended up showing it in Netflix. Its a reboot of the 1998 namesake starring, Gary Oldman and honestly this one didn’t fare much better.

Set 30 years into the future, the Earth is now uninhabitable. The story-line follows the Robinsons who are part of a colonization expedition which crash lands on an alien planet and follows this family of five in their fight for survival and getting back on course to the real destination. There are a few other characters as well, since they had to stretch it to 10 episodes worth of material.  Parker Posey as Dr Smith, plays the villain and she is the most confusing character of all ! There are places where she does some silly, ‘evil’ things just for the sake of it. 

In short, this is one Netflix Original for the families. You will enjoy watching this with your kids or if you have to entertain someone else’s kids ! Mediocre acting and shoddy script-writing might make you lose temper at times – if you are watching it alone. The CGI and some of the scenes are breathtaking but half the time you are left clueless on what the end game is, with the villain 🙂

Lilyhammer | Netflix Original | As Good as a Comedy-Crime Drama could get !

Lilyhammer is a fabulous binge-worthy comedy/crime series that popped up in my Netflix feed out of the blue. It starts with the New York mobster and second-in-command,   Frank Tagliano (Steven Van Zandt) getting in line of the cross-hair, when the chief dies and the brother takes over the Mafia. Frank’s dog gets killed and he escapes by the skin of his teeth and before going all John Wick on the perpetrators he decides to do the sensible thing and turn States witness. In return he gets to choose any new identity anywhere in the world. However, he chose to go to Lilyhammer, Norway, as he loved the place when he saw the 94 Winter Olympics on TV and thus begins the adventure. 

Lilyhammer is more of a Norwegian production than an American one and it turns out to be a dark comedy version of The Sopranos and its only fair that Steven got the role. There is not a single dull moment in the entire series as the ex-mobster makes friends (more of partners in crime) in the ever lovable, ice-cold Lilyhammer. Every frame is absolutely postcard worthy  and every single character is a masterpiece in itself. It would be a crime though to not mention Torgeir Lien( Trond Fausa) who plays the dumb, lovable and fiercely loyal second-in-command as Frank tries to build his own Mob base in Lilyhammer. The makers Eilif Skodvin & Anne Bjørnstad deserve a lot of credit as well for churning out something so funny out of an otherwise dark theme.

I would recommend Lilyhammer to anybody who is into Dark comedy and Gangster shows. Watch it with subtitles ON as half of the conversation is in Norwegian – that’s however something you will not complain about. It’s fun, definitely just for adults and a perfect way to wind down after a stressful week at work.

Requiem (2018) | Netflix | Another decent British Supernatural Thriller.

‘Cold case of a missing kid’ seems to be the formula that works the best for most of the British Supernatural Thrillers these days. Requiem , too follows the trend when 23 years later, the case of a toddler who went missing in 1994 comes into limelight. The series begins in breathtaking pace and the subsequent episodes somehow goes meandering and is unable to keep up with the brilliant beginning.  It’s definitely not as good as DarkThe Five or Broadchurch but definitely better than 1922 and Collateral.

The series begins with an old man in a small Welsh Village commits suicide, followed by another suicide in London of the mother of a rising Cello star Matilda Gray (Lydia Wilson) right in front of her. The element of supernatural is laden in the very first shots itself. Matilda and her friend Hal Fine(Joel Fry) travels to the Welsh Village in search of the truth following the few clues left behind by her mother. The remainder of the season is all about the mystery of the two suicides, the missing kid and village filled with secrets. 

There are so many good things going on about Requiem including the very beautiful locations in Wales. The nature in itself casts its eerie shadow throughout adding to the mood of the series. The cast does a decent job and background music is very riveting. I do, however, think that the makers missed a trick by dragging the series on for 6 episodes. They could have wrapped it all up in 4 and could have made a much more entertaining watch out of it. The series did remind me of <Movie Name Spoiler !  > and was a bit too predictable in the end. In short its a decent one time watch if you are into thrillers belonging to the supernatural genre.