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Review: Netflix’s La Casa de Papel

Written by Claudia Arena

At last, the January slump is over. After a month that felt like approximately 74 years of my life, I am happy to salute a new month with a fresh spirit of initiative and productivity. I even signed up to the gym today! While I sure am embracing this wind of change, some things are not meant to change at all – such as my love for TV shows and all forms of entertainment. It is then with much pleasure that this week I will review for you a Spanish production recently acquired by Netflix: La Casa de Papel, a mildly frustrating yet dangerously addictive series following a heist. It’s called Money Heist in English, but that’s not even half as fun to say out loud with mucho gusto.

What it is about 
As the English title suggests already, La Casa de Papel is about money and thieves. The show follows a gang of thieves as they organize and execute the theft of the century: entering the Royal Mint of Spain, and stealing billions of euros. Or to put it correctly, print billions of euros for the taking. The plan is meticulously orchestrated by a mastermind of sorts, the mysterious and cunning Profesor (The Professor), playing a seductive game of chess against Inspector Raquel Murrillo. Surrounding the gang are hostages prepared to do anything to save their lives.

Have a look at the trailer and decide if this might be your new source of procrastination: 


Why you might find it interesting

  • Loved Reservoir Dogs? This show might just be made for you. Like the infamous Tarantino movie, La Casa de Papel features a choral performance, egos clashing, and interesting pseudonyms for thieves.
  • If suspense in movies and shows is what keeps you going, this is your show. I have been sucked into binge watching until 3 am, no shame.
  • You have an eye for aesthetic. The color palette in La Casa de Palette is a meticulous study in just how powerful and overwhelming the color red can be. Here, it’s everywhere.

The good

  • Did I say suspense already? The show orchestrates its twists and turns masterfully, leaving you gasping for more after each episode.
  • El Profesor. The most fascinating character of the show is the man behind the plan, an anonymous intellectual with worrying amounts of knowledge about anything – from police strategies to ballistics and psychology. He’s at the center of some of the most tension-fuelled action in the series, bound to keep you at the edge of your seat.
  • Which brings me to another point, his interactions with inspector Raquel Murrillo, leading the hostage negotiation. It’s flirtatious, frustrating, and absolutely delightful.
  • The subplots. With so many characters at play, the show does a great job at giving depth to each of them by giving them enough space to interact with others, revealing their motives and drives.

The bad

  • The gang. Some of them are just absolutely infuriating and constantly running the risk of endangering the whole plan. You’ll want to yell at your screen for no reason at all. Special mention for Tokyo, indecisive, spoiled and worst of all a bad copy of Natalie Portman in Léon.
  • Why the need for so many romantic subplots? Ugh.
  • ARTURO. Horrible man. Ugh.
  • The hostages are really, really annoying. Then again this comes from a girl who has rooted for the bad guys even in her early Harry Potter days, so take my word lightly.

Overall
With only 3 episodes left to close off season 1, I give La Casa de Papel a 7.5. Despite indulging in unnecessary romancing, which takes away from the execution of the plan and from action-fuelled scenes, the show masterfully manages to keep on stage a wide range of fully fleshed out, diverse characters. I can’t wait for more.

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About the author

Claudia Arena

Sicily born and bred, Claudia is a seasoned expat in the Netherlands. After three years and a bunch of life crises in Maastricht, she’s now in Amsterdam causing trouble and studying Corporate Communication. Strongly opinionated about (almost) everything, she’s really (I mean, really) passionate about TV shows, good copywriting, feminism and pasta. Not necessarily in that order.