Netflix has not yet ceased to amaze me. Its programming has risen above that of the regular cable rabble for quite some time now, and it shows no signs of stopping.
Its most recent release, “Narcos,” just goes to show what a powerhouse the network has become.
The biopic series, centered around the lives of Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar (portrayed, brilliantly, by Wagner Moura) and those in pursuit of him, does more than just paint a violent and strangely entrancing picture of the narcotics scene, it also inspires an interest in real facts.
While based on true events, the series, of course, takes some artistic liberties. The cool thing, though, is that I wanted to know more. I couldn’t put my phone down as I watched the show, as I was constantly researching who people were and what they had done.
An interesting take in the direction of the series was to inject real footage, pictures and commentary from history’s archives to bring the characters even more to life.
The real lack of familiar actors also went beyond to create a world that I believed in. While there may have been one or two actors I recognized, the majority of the cast was played excellently by people I had never heard of, mostly those from the region where the series was filmed, Columbia.
I have seen most of the show, and I can honestly say the only misstep for me in the direction and presentation of the show is the constant narration from Boyd Holbrook, who portrays U.S. DEA Agent Steve Murphy.
While Holbrook plays the part of Murphy with a withdrawn coolness, his retrospective narration is heard as unemotional. It almost seems as though after filming the series, they made him do the narrative track against his will.
A familiar face to me, and other fans of the HBO series “Game of Thrones,” is Pedro Pascal, who plays Murphy’s partner Javier Peña. Pascal perfectly embodies the type-a drug enforcement agent who doesn’t mind getting dirty and cracking skulls to make sure he gets his job done.
Overall, the series is another well-done piece of stylized realism from a studio that just keeps dominating the cable/streaming war.
Being stylized, I’m not sure how history buffs will like it, but for the common folk like me it places high on Netflix’s achievements.