Inhuman Resources Season 1 Review: Former Football Star Eric Cantona Elevates a Gripping Show

Rhea Srivastava -

Inhuman Resources Season 1 Review: Former Football Star Eric Cantona Elevates a Gripping Show

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Format: Web Series
Platform: Netflix
Movie Rated: 16+
Genre: Crime, Drama
Language: French
Premiere Date:  15 May 2020

 

What is the Story About:
Based on the novel, ‘Cadres Noirs,’ by Pierre Lemaitre, Netflix’s latest original Inhuman Resources is a thrilling and engrossing ride which is a slow burn built to shock the hell out of the viewer. So perhaps it would work better if you are unfamiliar with the true story (on which the book is based) as I was. Presumptuous as it is, being clueless about what I was getting into makes the unpredictable screenplay even better as it wastes no time to get into the action. 
 
We start off with Alain Delambre (Eric Cantona, who we’ll talk about later), our main protagonist, in prison. At one time, Alain was a simple family man trying to provide for his wife and children and live a life of dignity. In a series of flashbacks, Alain recounts his long struggle with unemployment, doing menial jobs just to get by. When we finally cut to his past, he is a floor cleaner at a car parking when Alexandre Dorfmann, the CEO of Exxya, an organisation that deals with manufacturing parts for aviation, arrives. Alexandre is struggling with keeping Exxya afloat. In a bizarre epiphany, he presents the idea that the way to find a new manager for one of the factories is to create a hostage situation at the office. This would test the loyalty of the employees towards the company, but also sense who it is who works best under pressure. In what is a desperate attempt to prove himself and build his bruised ego, Alain somehow climbs the recruitment ladder and finds himself right in the middle of this game set by the crazy Alexandre. The job is suspicious, but Alain is desperate, and eventually, he does feed into the scheme. Eventually, of course, Alain sees more logic than greed. 

 
Analysis 
In spite of every bizarre twist that Inhuman Resources presents, it is important to remember that it is based on a true story, especially considering the time it has released. As we often joke, the coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented time which leaves all to the imagination for what happens next. It is not just after the time of recession, but even once we get over the pandemic, it is not difficult to imagine many people out of jobs and struggling for livelihood. What makes Alain’s story realistic, to a certain extent is that very psycho-social reality which it taps into. Alain is not very likeable, let’s be honest. But he is precisely the kind of archetype character that makes for the best-flawed hero. There is a clear disconnect between his ideals and what his environment urges him to be. His circumstances have been less of a trigger as his inability to prove himself turns out to be. This makes us easy to understand why he gets enraptured into such a big corporate scam in the first place, with only Eric Cantona having the unique capability of having us root for him. The writing is fairly smart and layered, especially the way in which Alain’s life in prison is alluded to throughout the initial bits of the series - how he had let go of all his morals to mistreat the employees during the hostage situation, which is exactly what comes to him in forced confinement. 
 
But too many twists have their disadvantages, and there are two things that keep Inhuman Resources from being a perfect show. The season is fairly well structured where the first half is establishing Alain's familial life and lead-up to the crime, and that is extremely slick and fast-paced. Episode 4 onwards, however, what is the biggest USP of the show… its realism goes for a toss and we find ourselves in the middle of a completely far-fetched situation diluting the impact that the show has built so far. The pacing also slows making it an inconsistent watch. Secondly, the villains on the show are cookie-cutter and one-dimensional - corporate stooges looking like they’ve stepped out of a satire show saying what they’ve been force-fed for years. We get that this has been done to make us more sympathetic towards Alain, but his first-person fourth-wall narration is already humanising him to us, so this seems underwhelming from a writing perspective.

 
Performances
In a show like this, it is important to have someone who is able to present the craft of subtlety and manipulation in the central performance. The reason why it was important to mention Cantona a few times in that context is that most people know him through a different career altogether. If you are a football fan, Eric Cantona’s most striking memory to you is as the aggressive and dominant force representing Manchester United in the ‘90s. One of his major goals was from a freekick against Arsenal, still remembered to this day. As it is, to imagine him playing Alain is pretty strange, but he gives such a believable performance that it is no less a revelation. He is desperate and angry and has this melancholic urge to go back to the time where he felt and was more useful and competent. Cantona is perfect and makes the story move forward more smoothly than it is. Aiding him is Alex Lutz as the megalomaniacal Dorffmann who shows no mercy in the vile idea of physically and mentally torturing his employees. He is also extremely charming while being perfectly evil.
 
Highlights
Inhuman Resources presents a world where societal constructs of how corporate dynamic works have clearly been thrown out of the window for a more raw and animal-like approach. The hostage situation is perhaps a more obvious game than the one the bosses play with the workers on a daily basis anyway, how many would ‘kill’ for the opportunity to partake in the torture, and finally, how those in a power position very rarely bear the brunt of their actions. All said and done, there are many nuances to the satire presented in the story. 

 
Drawbacks 
The inconsistent pacing and the lack of depth to the conflict that Alain faces with the management of Exxya does take away from the impact of the story. 
 
Music and Other Departments
Inhuman Resources is styled as an action thriller and has a sound design to prove it. There is a loud score to put you into the raw and gritty reality of the story. The narration by Alain gives the opportunity to play around with the camera, but in general, too, the shaky camera works especially during the hostage sequence. The show is edited well. The production value is as well mounted as any other show on Netflix. 
 
Did I Enjoy It?
Sure. I wish I was a little less exhausted in the latter half of the show though.
 
Do I Recommend It?
Yes, definitely worth trying out if the show’s star or generally good thrillers appeal to you. 

 

 
 
 

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