Daybreak review - Apocalypse through the eyes of a teenager

Daybreak review - Apocalypse through the eyes of a teenager

Cinematographically Netflix’s new series Daybreak feels like a combination of a modern and classic approach to cinema. In terms of content and screenplay, Daybreak has cinematographically paid its due tribute to classical Hollywood cinema. Classical Hollywood cinema refers to the phase of the 1920s to 1960s when almost every film followed a certain pattern in their narration. Films such as North By Northwest, Gentleman’s Agreement, Foreign Correspondent, The Birds, Double Indemnity, Man Who Knew Too Much, would first capture a glimpse of the city the film is based in, later it would cut to the character, situation who was introduced along with the diegesis. They usually had a linear form of narration. Similarly, Daybreak begins with wide shots of California, we get a glimpse of Hollywood. Soon, we are introduced to repulsive teenagers. The series is a post-apocalyptic Netflix series about American teenagers who survived a nuclear blast that killed many adults (according to those teenagers) who have turned into ghoulies. At this very point, Daybreak becomes a tribute to Matthew Brodrick’s character in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Just when you thought, you couldn’t have enough of him, the real Matthew Broderick appears. In the first episode, our protagonist, Josh Wheeler played by Colin Ford gets introduced during the attendance. Here onwards he breaks the fourth wall. You want to be impressed with Josh Wheeler as he appears smarter than the rest of his classmates, but there are moments when Colin spoils it all by trying to be a combination of Ryan Reynolds from Deadpool and Kevin Spacey from House Of Cards. In his attempts to be someone else, Colin wastes his talents. He wastes it more when he talks like the guy who is more superior than the rest of the crowd. You can pardon that side of his behaviour everything on-screen syncs with his narration. For Wheeler, things have been ‘pretty good since the nuclear disaster happened’ because since then every day has been an off day. Right at this exact moment, the makers have given us a good glimpse of what the show is about to be. Everything is going to be told from the point of view of a teenager, so it would be best not to take someone as young as Josh Wheeler so seriously. At the end of the day, he is also a teenager trying to appear like an adult. ‘Things move pretty fast in here,’ Josh explains while sitting in a lawn chair with a daiquiri in his hand. A few moments later, he warns us ‘If you stop looking around, you might get eaten.’ It won’t take very long for a sensible viewer to realise that Josh isn’t a person who should be taken seriously. He represents a section of teenagers that does whatever it wants to, without thinking of the consequences of their decisions. Meanwhile, you can almost imagine Matthew Brodrick secretly thanking himself for not being born in a dystopian era. The real nightmare arrives when we realise that the majority of the grown-ups in Daybreak are either brain dead or have been wiped out. The generation which exists is the one that is two steps away from screaming, ‘We don’t need any education'. What begins in a high-school cafeteria, slowly converts into a video game world of Mad Max: Fury Road, with a more realistic feel. Amidst this maddening phase, Josh Wheeler is focussed on tracking down his crust Sam played by Sophie Simnett. He teams up with Wesley and Angelica. The former is a football player who thinks he is a samurai warrior and the latter is a home-schooled child who is a monster. (Not literally…but yes.) Borrowing the lines from GoodFellas she announces in the third episode, ‘As far as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster’. So what do these gangsters do? They open a band and perform at a mall. That’s their idea of building their community. Makers of The Walking Dead should throw away their scripts and write fresh ones? I mean, who in such apocalyptic times want to attempt to survive? Or build a new world from the abyss? Make a band! With moments like these, Daybreak fails to make us feel the desperation. It is difficult to say if the writers were trying to mock the teenage mentality with their irreverent scripting, dialogues, or if they were truly lackadaisical. Although they have used witty dialogues, the makers have not intelligently sequenced it. ‘Little dictators with big egos, well they can launch a nuke with a tweet. And then one day, they did,’ said Josh. Well said Wheeler, except, who are you talking about? Next time you want to use sarcasm, drop little hints and also a little more on how America was affected by the Hitler you are referring to. A part of you would want to love the series Daybreak for its energy, but there’s another part of you which will be unable to handle so many aggressive teenagers. Even the idea of sharing a one-directional on-screen relationship with them seems exhausting. Daybreak also pays recalls moments from The Karate Kid and The Breakfast Club. The idea of Daybreak may not have been that exhaustive had it been a 120 minutes film rather than a 450 minutes web-series across 10 long episodes. This isn’t a series of unfortunate events you would want to know. Yes, you need to switch to Netflix’s ‘Series of Unfortunate Events’ just to reassure yourself that not all teenagers are bad at making decisions. Rating: 2/5


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