The Innocent Review

Oriol Paulo hits a sixer with this gripping Spanish take on Harlan Coben's bestselling thriller

Rony Patra -

The Innocent Review
Platform
Netflix
Platform Icons Click To Stream
Format
Original Series Review
Movie Rated
18+
Genre
DRAMA,SUSPENSE,THRILLER
Language
Spanish

What is the story about?

Mateo Vidal, a law student, gets arrested and jailed for four years for accidentally killing Dani, another boy, in a brawl outside a nightclub. When he gets out of jail, Mat decides to lead an honest and upright life. While he becomes a partner at his brother Isma's law firm, he also falls in love with Olivia. As Mat and Olivia settle down and expect a baby, Olivia gets a mysterious call asking her to come to Berlin for work. However, after her departure, Mat receives a string of videos from Olivia's phone showing her supposedly cheating on him with another man. At the same time, Inspector Lorena Ortiz investigates the mysterious death of a nun at a convent, with Mat being suspected of murdering her. While Mat tries to run away from his past, he tries to locate Olivia and prove his innocence in the nun's death. But who is after Mat's life?

Analysis

If you committed a crime by accident, and decided to lead an honest life after having served punishment for it, would you deserve the right to do so, or would you always be branded as a criminal? Creator and director Oriol Paulo puts forth some tough questions in his eight-episode retelling of Harlan Coben's 2005 bestseller. Like his previous films The Body and The Invisible Guest, Paulo is concerned with themes of revenge and guilt, and how the murky past of various characters can catch up with them in the present, forcing them to take life-altering decisions. However, in this series, Paulo, along with co-writer Jordi Vallejo, is also concerned with grief. Grief is a powerful factor in human nature, and it can either shape you into a better person, or it can bring out the first in you, and this is what happens to various characters in the show. The result is a series that revels in various jaw-dropping twists and numerous red herrings to bring out the murky side of human nature, even as it never loses sight of the importance of empathy and forgiveness in the long run. One only wishes the various scenes involving nudity, rape and violence against women were toned down slightly, because their sheer brutality and starkness catches you off-guard at times. Nevertheless, this is a fine thriller that ties up all its loose ends with flourish, and even throws in a final twist in its epilogue to keep you thinking about the strange directions human nature can take.

Performances

Mario Casas, star of The Invisible Guestis suitably earnest and dogged as Mateo. A victim of circumstance, Mateo longs to get back to normal life, and Casas plays him beautifully. Aura Garrido is terrific as Olivia, Mateo's wife, who has a few murky secrets of her own. Alexandra Jimenez's Lorena is slightly underdeveloped in initial episodes, but she shines in the last couple of episodes. Jose Coronado is gruff and menacing as SCU agent Teo Aguilar. Juana Acosta is solid as Sister Maria, who has too many damaging secrets, while Martina Guzman's Kimmy shines in a few key moments. Gonzalo de Castro and Ana Wagener are decent as Jaime and Sonia, who each deal with the death of their son Dani in their own way, shaping two different relationships with Mateo. The rest of the cast is okay.

Music & Other Departments

Bernat Bosch's camerawork and the editing are definitely the stars, as far as the technical side is concerned.

Highlights

The way in which Paulo and Vallejo have adapted Coben's bestseller to a Spanish context is noteworthy. Also, in spite of the dark nature of the story, the screenplay never loses sight of basic human values, and always stresses on the need for forgiveness.

Drawbacks

This story is definitely 18+ and cannot be watched with families. There are too many scenes of women getting beaten up, raped and/or mutilated. Some scenes set in the morgue should not be watched if you're eating something at that point. 
 
Considering the absorbing suspense of the first seven episodes, the finale feels a little hastily written.

Did I enjoy it?

Absolutely.

Do I recommend it?

Yes. Don't miss this riveting thriller.



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