An addiction like none other. A game of chess played with the utmost sophistication wherein you can’t help but fall in love with both sides. A tapestry filled with characters, making up a story that you can’t erase from your mind. These are all phrases that have been used to describe ‘La Casa de Papel’, or ‘Money Heist’, streaming on Netflix, and they couldn’t have been truer.
The show starts off with a seemingly ordinary man in a tweed jacket saving a damsel in distress, only she’s not a damsel but the cause of the distress itself. This man, who calls himself ‘The Professor’, proves himself to have an ingenious mind by concocting a plan to break into the Royal Mint of Spain and later on, the Bank of Spain, without truly stealing anyone’s money. He recruits a team of 8 people, each with a different skill set. They are given regular classes regarding the whole heist, trying to exhaust every possibility and have a backup plan for the same. Though the premise seems fairly ordinary, with 8 people determined to pull off the biggest heist of all time, the way the creators moved forward with the show is what makes it truly outstanding.
The show’s format shows the heist occurring as the number of hours into the robbery and shifts between the past and the present, giving it more time to explore every character and delve into the depths of their personalities. The stakes are extremely high and the audience gets desperate to know what happens to each one of them, because of the emotional connection that is formed with each one of them. The show doesn’t give in to your desires by not letting you know who the new characters are, till the writers deem it absolutely necessary.
The specifics of the heist make you believe that you could also pull off such a grand event with the right equipment. But in spite of it being the ‘perfect’ heist, the one thing that makes it truly worth watching is the complexity of human emotions expressed throughout the show on the side of both the robbers and the hostages. The show is interlaced with the origin stories of the robbers and their internal conflicts, their emotions and how they deal with it. The hostages’ side couldn’t have been more apt either, with the rebellions, the deterioration of respect towards their kidnappers once a few hostages escape, Stockholm syndrome (or wasn’t it?) and the fear. This display of human emotion which is omnipresent throughout, with the robbers as well as the hostages make the show truly worthwhile.
While the robbers do their part for the heist inside, the Professor plays a game of mental chess with the police, till he gets played. The game is carefully thought out and is incredibly sophisticated. And just when you might think all hell has broken loose, you realise that’s where the writers wanted you all along and their plan is truly successful.
There are elements of feminism strewn throughout the show, with one of the robbers screaming, ‘The age of matriarchy begins now’ in an ultimate power move and trying to teach one of their own to shred his regressive ideas.
The comic elements in the show are subtle. Neymar’s cameo where he spouts blatant lies as to how he hates football and parties will leave you amused. The soundtrack adds on to the whole feel of the show and will leave you humming songs like Bella Ciao for a very long time. The cliffhangers at the end of each season will leave you craving for more and hopefully, Season 4 is just around the corner.
La Casa de Papel, a robbery at its heart has truly stolen the hearts of people from all around the globe and I don’t think any of us are ready for the show to tell us ‘Bella Ciao’.
Feature image source: UGC