What I thought about: Money Heist (Part 1)

Oh. My. God. This show is one of the best thrillers I have ever seen. I’m disappointed in myself for taking so long to press ‘play’ on a show that almost everyone has already seen by now. In case you haven’t yet, let me tell you why I love it.

Not the only masks you see in the show, so look out for that

What’s it about?
A group of criminals and outcasts, each with their own individual talents, have been assembled by a seemingly awkward and introverted man known only as the Professor. Over a period of months, they have lived together and trained together to prepare for the greatest bank heist of all time.

I can’t say much more without spoiling the fantastic twists, turns, and overall brilliance of the Professor’s plan. But I can say that this show is truly thrilling, and not at all in the same way as Uncut Gems, a movie I couldn’t finish watching for all the anxiety it was giving me.

What do I like about it?
There’s so much to like here. The way the show unravels the plan – slowly and in time with the action – always keeps you guessing. Something bad happened? Is it all over for the robbers, or did things go exactly to plan? In a poorly made show, you might be able to shake off this gimmick and relax yourself as disaster after disaster is averted at every turn. But Money Heist is not a badly made show. Things do go wrong – and the robbers don’t always recover from them.

Perhaps the best part of the show is the way it portrays the backstories and personal lives of the characters. You don’t get lengthy flashbacks a la Orange is the New Black, instead you are drip fed small, relevant, pieces of history, just enough to plant seeds of empathy in your head before the show snaps straight back to the action. With those seeds planted, you’re suddenly concerned for all sorts of different characters on different sides of the action. With every tense moment, you have to make a split second decision about which of the characters you’re rooting for, and start praying that it works out in their favour. That task in itself is thrilling, let alone the action happening on screen at the same time.

What do I not like about it?
A small handful of characters are a bit too goofy for what should be a gritty drama. They’re incompetent, or annoying, just enough to detract from the rest of the show. Also, as good as the Professor’s plan is, some things they get away with are a little too unrealistic.

Worth a watch?
ABSOLUTELY. But do know that this is a long show. The first part is 13×45-minute episodes. It took me a while, and sometimes it’s an exhausting watch.

By the way…

  • As another Spanish Netflix show, I was expecting someone from Elite to show up in the cast. Instead, I counted five. FIVE. There are FIVE actors from Elite in this show.
  • The show originally aired in Spain with fewer, longer, episodes. Netflix re-cut the show into shorter episodes, and I’m grateful for it.