The creators of movies should pay attention to the incredible work that is being done on television, where we increasingly see television series with a creative and plot quality that many movies would envy to have.
Initially the series may seem to have a simple argument about a lawyer trying to defend a supposed innocent of a crime, and parallelly about the search for the alleged culprit, but here what prevails is the reflexive tempo, the construction of solid, three-dimensional characters with defects, nuances and complexes all framed in a disturbing spiral which mixes very current issues such as racism, judicial labyrinths and social injustices. But everything approached with dramatic depth, serenity and provoking that the center of the story be not who was the murderer, but how the subplots of the characters develop.
The series stands out for having an intelligent script designed to not give clues beyond what we see, we will never know more or less than the protagonists, the creators make doubt a constant factor. A judicial drama that takes place in a realistic way, showing in detail and with care all the steps that a crime/arrest entails; from the intensity of the length of the boy's detention; his first hours in the dungeon; interrogations; the appearance of the lawyer; the negotiation between the lawyer and parents; the negotiation of the defence with the prosecution; the criminal progression of the protagonist in prison; the police investigation to balance everything at will; the investigation of the defence trying to create a reasonable doubt; and of course the trial. In short, a judicial and police breakdown in its maximum intensity.
All the characters are shown as part of this suggestive puzzle; as the solitary lawyer Stone with his marked rash and allergy to cats; the noble lawyer of Pakistani origin Chandra; the policeman Box, who arrested Naz and that the evidence tells him one thing and the nature of the accused another; the complex leader of the prisoners Freddy; or Naz's parents and their social exclusion because their son is accused of being a criminal.
This makes us immerse ourselves in an excellent way with the story and characters, where grey shades are abundant.
The series makes us fearful by showing us how easily we can ruin our lives by getting involved in a court case, where regardless of whether you are guilty or not a simple accusation could make us lose everything. For this, the series relies on a gloomy, grayish, oppressive atmosphere, using genres such as mystery, suspense, thriller, and drama, but all freshly linked to the characters with the core of the story being the dark journey of the suspect through the judicial underworld.
We are quickly immersed in five months of displeasure, from the unlucky night to the day of the verdict. In between a story that catches you from its first episode, "The Beach", hour and a half of a dramatic escalation and memorable tension, with a tremendous handling of narrative time and images, causing pessimism, hopelessness, disillusionment before a cold, impersonal, unjust world.
The actors shine, overflow with naturalness and truthfulness, complementing each other in a wonderful way. John Turturro is impressive in his role as a sticky lawyer, bringing humor, cynicism, irony, sarcasm, with that touch that gives him as much humanity as the chronic eczema that makes him repellent to many but deriving empathy from the public towards the weak. With some of the most enjoyable scenes such as his outstanding performance crowned by the final speech to the jury.
Riz Ahmed plays Naz, formidably until he suffers his conversion into a "badass" of the prison, before that he gives his character sensitivity, disorientation, innocence, his behaviour when he finds the corpse, his face terrified while he is detained, is really great.
Michael K. Williams plays the prisoner Freddy, he does it contributing charisma, emotional depth and at the same time hardness and fragility, pity that this immersed in a subplot that becomes ballast of the series. Bill Camp as the agent Box, embodies his character with heroism, with his stony face letting show emotions, doubts, sense of duty, in an incredible way.
Amara Karan as the lawyer Chandra Kapoor is somewhat blurred by an arc of development confused with his relationship with Naz. The actors who give life to Naz's parents do it wonderfully, Peyman Moaadi as Salim Khan, endows his role with a great emotional depth of suffering, like Poorna Jagannathan, giving bitterness and sadness their roles. Jeanne Berlin, like the prosecutor Helen Weiss, impregnates her character with coldness and a sense of duty. Paul Sparks as the victim's stepfather bathes his role in perverse moral ambiguity.
The series is presented as a clear social critique of the American judicial system, where a hypnotic atmosphere is created, and defined by fatalism and the latent tragedy in its eight episodes. The cold, pessimistic and desolate environment indicates that all the characters are going to be mistreated from their actions. Somehow they are condemned to their monotonous lives and there is no great hope for them, and that makes the series has an intensity and incredible rudeness and make it detached from any other similar police drama.
The moments of happiness during the series can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Even the only innocent and sincere moment of love you see takes its toll on one of the protagonists.
The spectator moves between two totally opposite worlds. On the one hand, life inside a prison in the United States. On the other hand, the functioning of judicial processes. The Night Of is a masterclass on how a judicial process unfolds.
The Night Of, like many other series, is based on an engine that moves the story: a mysterious murder. However, it takes a different course than anything the public is accustomed to seeing. The impeccable script along with a brilliant cast makes this series a must-add to our playlist. From which we learn once again, that neither the good ones are so good, nor the bad ones so bad.
My personal rating: 8,1/10
- Movie URL: https://www.themoviedb.org/tv/66276-the-night-of?language=en-US
- Critic: AAA