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Friday, 20 April 2018

La Casa de Papel

I have waited writing this review until the very last episode of season 2 of La Casa de Papel a.k.a. Money Heist (#8.8 in IMDb). I just couldn’t imagine that this Netflix series would not ultimately disappoint. It did not. La Casa de Papel might be one of the best TV series ever. This week Netflix announced that the worldwide success of this series warrants a new season 3.

Initially, I ignored this series based upon its description. It seemed just another crime story. I was sold after having watched episode 1. The filming is rather slow and sucks you into the captivating story of a bank heist on the Spanish Royal Mint, where they print Euro bills.

The object of the heist (ie, the Mint) allows for philosophical arguments whether its theft or not: nothing existing will be stolen. The heist also allows for political arguments on the bailout of European banks by the European Central Bank (ECB) through printing new money. The heist is most of all about the psychological cat-and-mouse game between the police and the “thieves”.

There is a resemblance with one of the best crime movies ever: Heat (1995, IMDb). Both main characters are experts in meticulous planning of their jobs and also denounce violence. The psychological warfare between Al Pacino (police) and Robert De Niro (thief) in Heat, resembles the fight between the Professor and the female Spanish police inspector.

There’s also a resemblance with another superb heist-like movie: The Thomas Crown Affair (1999, IMDb). This resemblance is about the romantic interest between Pierce Brosnan (gentleman thief) and Rene Russo (insurance detective).

La Casa de Papel does not decide who is bad and good. Characters on both sides are bad and good. My empathy was shifting according to the hourly developments in the heist (eg, betrayal, treatment of hostages). My empathy towards the Mint director was shifting many times. That’s a remarkable accomplishment. Characters are clearly not 1-dimensional.

The meticulous planning of the heist does not take into account human relationships, like in real life. They do, however, develop and threaten the Professor's plan. The Stockholm syndrome creates additional relationships between thieves and hostages.

Similar to the movie Heat, the tv series La Casa de Papel is not about gun violence, despite the incidental shootings and the Heat like finale. The sympathy of the Spanish population for the thieves is crucial in their plan; violence is not. This ingredient is also part of their political views: losers against winners.

Until the end of season 2, the Professor remains a mystery (eg, fragile youth, martial arts, meticulous planning, Russian language, Serbian comrades). Season 3 might explain who the Professor really is. La Casa de Papel is extraordinary good and a must-see.

My Life Is Going On (2017) by Cecilia Krull - OST La Casa de Papel (lyricsvideo)

Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

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