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Drama

Inhuman Resources (Derapages) – Netflix Review

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From the football pitch to the small screen, from kicking a supporter to headbutting antagonists, Eric Cantona forever leaves a lasting impression, whether you’re cheering for him or not. In Inhuman Resources (Derapages in France), Cantona leads the line as Alain Delambre across six episodes, a former HR manager betrayed by the system, who fights to regain significant employment.

Having been a HR manager, with a family, purchased apartment etc. etc., Alain had it all in both his career and home life. But having been relegated to low-paid poor quality jobs for six years now, the apartment falling apart, and an almost hollow marriage, Alain is in the scrapheap. From riches to rags, a result of age discrimination. Regarded as a senior, Alain claims that employment bosses treat you as the, “Last to get hired, first to get laid-off,”. Wife Nicole (Suzanne Clement) brings forward a job opportunity, a HR role, but a depressed and broken-down Alain, despite being desperate beyond belief, has lost all faith and belief in his abilities. Having been forced to leave another inadequate job, Alain finds himself with no choice but to apply for this role.

Alain’s shot at redemption, however, entails much more than a sophisticated one-to-one interview or presentation, it instead requires a form of role-play…in the guise of pretend hostage taking. Essentially, Alain has to instruct and lead a unit, with the mission of pushing high-level employees to the limit, with the endgame being a display of who possesses the most loyalty amidst a nearby mass employee lay-off. What could possibly go wrong?

For the first few episodes of Inhuman Resources, the concept of the job and application process really drives the narrative and the tone. In fact, the research taken for the role establishes an overwhelming black comedic tone throughout, which timely coincides with viewers still getting used to Cantona as an actor. Of course, when the story and situations within the show transcend into a more serious nature, the tone and genre progresses too. The second half of the series is, essentially, a crime-thriller. When there is an attempt at being serious, it more or less hits the mark. Inhuman Resources is utterly brilliant.



As one would naturally expect, Cantona is the standout performer from the show. A clear progression from the self-service within Looking for Eric (2009) where he plays himself, Cantona’s acting chops are magnifique. A truly extraordinary performance of an extraordinary character. However, as interesting and brilliant the character of Alain may be, he is, unfortunately the only character of significance who doesn’t lack cliche, unlike the corporate suits led by Alex Lutz’ Alexandre Dofmann, with a hairstyle similar to that of Andre Rieu.

In the current climate where employment and job security are at an anxiety level higher than ever, Inhuman Resources feels like its relevance has been elevated significantly. Amid its dual nature of black comedy and crime, there is a serious social commentary at the heart of the series that goes beyond Parisian culture, therefore resulting in the establishment of a thought-provoking viewing at international level. The Ziad Doueiri directed – based-on-a-true-story – series is now available in full on Netflix.

Rating: 4/5

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Comedy

Netflix’s Crashing Eid Review: Love, Culture, and Differences

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Crashing Eid

If you are curious about other cultures, or maybe want to see how your culture is represented in mainstream media, then you should binge-watch Netflix’s Arabic Comedy series Crashing Eid this weekend. It’s a 4-episode long series with each episode of roughly 47 minutes. The series revolves around culture, love, differences, family, and drama.

The story focuses on Razan (Summer Shesha) as she finds love for the second time in her life but struggles to convince her family for marriage. Razan is shown to be living in the UK with her daughter Lamar (Bateel Qamlo) and finds her British-Pakastani boyfriend Sameer (Hamza Haq) as a suitable match for herself. She proposes to him for marriage before traveling to Saudi Arabia, her home, to celebrate Eid. Her family is convinced that she is back in Saudi for good but Razan has other plans. She tries to tell them about Sameer but constantly fails due to fear and lack of ‘perfect’ timing. She tells Sameer that her parents have agreed to their marriage as she panics to tell him the truth.

Summer Shesha and Bateel Qamlo in Crashing Eid

Summer Shesha as Razan, Bateel Qamlo as Lamar in Crashing Eid

Here comes the twist – Sameer reaches Saudi to surprise Razan and to meet her parents! She tries her best to handle the situation and hide their relationship with the help of her daughter Lamar. At the end of the episode, the truth uncovers itself and everyone is left disappointed. The story follows Razan’s family drama, bitter relations with her mother, previous abusive marriage, her brother Hasan’s (Yasir Alsaggaf) struggle to connect with his son after losing custody, etc. Her previous marriage with her cousin affected her relationship with her own mother as she blames Razan for the failed marriage.

Summer Shesha’s portrayal of a strong woman struggling with every close person in her life but still managing to face everything with bravery is appreciable. Khalid Alharbi deserves applause for his sweet, loving, and understanding role as Razan’s father.

Yasir Alsaggaf, Summer Shesha and Amani Idrees in Crashing Eid

Yasir Alsaggaf, Summer Shesha, and Amani Idrees in Crashing Eid

Despite a fun twist challenge, representation, and Khalid Alharbi’s brilliant performance, a few parts lack perspective. The story doesn’t completely revolve around Razan yet it fails to involve Lamar’s (Bateel Qamlo) emotions in the family drama. She is seen upset at times but it’s never completely addressed. She plays the role of a typical elder daughter helping out her mother in everything and neglecting herself at times. The ending felt rushed as it doesn’t properly elaborate on how Razan’s mother (Amani Idrees) suddenly changed her mind about her daughter. Emotions take time and that’s what felt rushed.

Summer Shesha, Hamza Haq and Khalid Alharbi in Crashing Eid

Summer Shesha, Hamza Haq, and Khalid Alharbi in Crashing Eid

Crashing Eid  offers strong cultural representation, women empowerment, and how love can help you deal with almost everything. It focuses strongly on social taboos surrounding women and Muslim culture.

Crashing Eid is now available to stream on Netflix.

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Drama

Elizabeth Debicki’s Diana Stars Despite Major Fumbles In ‘The Crown’

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WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

On November 16, 2023, the first instalment of Netflix’s final season of “The Crown” premiered, leaving me feeling disappointed. Despite my eagerness to watch, life’s commitments often took precedence, making it challenging to indulge in any content. However, after finally catching up, I found myself wishing I hadn’t bothered.

With an ensemble of Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II; Dominic West as Prince Charles, Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Salim Daw as Mohamed Al-Fayed, Khalid Abdalla as Dodi Fayed, and Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles, the first instalment of four episodes is set a year after Charles and Diana’s divorce and traces the events to the late princess and her alleged romantic partner Dodi. 

I get the fact that Diana’s death was a significant event in modern British history, but the show did not feel like I was watching ‘The Crown’, I felt as if I were watching some Diana propaganda movie for the first half. Even with a legendary cast like the above-mentioned, there’s no escaping terrible writing, unfortunately. The script was demanding way too much from the cast and some scenes had me pulling my hair out. 

But the worst was yet to come, after Diana’s death, there comes Ghost Diana, who has conversations with the Queen and the Prince of Wales and at this point, my eyes were staring at the ceiling rather than the screen as I heard the ghost Diana interactions with the queen and Charles, Another point of annoyance was the petulance of Charles and this public perception war with Diana which made me ask the question: Why? To the point that he hires a royal photographer to show his fatherly side. 

The portrayal of Diana’s relationship with Dodi was cringeworthy, to say the least. The fact that Mohd. Fayed was pulling the strings to get Diana and Dodi together was drama that I was not looking for: and for what? Validation from the royal family? To be considered British? The fact that he bribed journalists to stalk Dodi and Diana was going way beyond the line of fictional liberties. These liberties were taken by Peter Morgan throughout the first half of the final season making it pretty unwatchable. I somehow got through it all. I am really on the fence with creative liberties but this season, in particular, was shallow and completely unnecessary. 

But there are some moments worth praise, even though they are very few and very far in between. The scene where Charles tells William and Harry that their mother has passed away in a car accident or the scene where Harry is writing the card with the envelope titled ‘Mummy’ which is placed at the top of her coffin were moments that stood out for me personally more than Ghost Diana and the whole series at large.

Moreover, Debecki essayed Diana’s role in season five and this season, particularly Diana’s last eight weeks of her life were simply outstanding especially considering how bad the script was. The very moving scene for me was when Diana rejects Dodi’s proposal and Dodi finally manning up to his father; then the two talk about following their passions. This scene showed more maturity than perhaps the entire season before her death. 

Perhaps The Crown is plagued by the extraordinary brilliance of the first four seasons that the fifth season and the sixth season tend to fall flat, as noted by The Guardian. And more outlets across the world have dismissed it as clumsy and predictable. I know it was history and creative liberties were taken–but the show just dragged along and it was simply one-dimensional throughout. 

At this point, my expectations for the second half of the final season are way down after watching this show. The season is supposed to end with Charles marrying Camilla and William and Kate meeting at the University of St. Andrews. 

The second instalment will hit Netflix on December 14. 

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Crime

Netflix’s Bodies Review: Stephen Graham’s Mind-Twisting Series Related To Dark?

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Netflix's Bodies

If you are a fan of time travel, crime, and mind-bending suspense then Netflix’s Bodies is perfect to binge-watch this weekend. Directed by Haolu Wang and Marco Kreuzpaintner, Bodies is based on DC’s graphic novel by Si Spencer – who has been tributed in the first episode. The story follows four detectives in four different timelines and they discover a naked man’s body with one eye gouged out, surprisingly it’s the body of the same person in different timelines!

Shira Haas and Stephen Graham

Shira Haas and Stephen Graham in Netflix’s ‘Bodies’

The 8-episode series parallelly shows four detectives – DS Hasan (Amaka Okafor) in 2023, DS Whiteman (Jacob Fortune-Lloyd) in 1941, DI Hillinghead (Kyle Soller) in 1890, and DC Maplewood (Shira Haas) in 2053 twisted in the same case discovering facts that are beyond their understanding. DS Hasan from the year 2023 discovers that the case she has been working on has happened before, not once but twice decades ago. Much to her suspicion, the evidence aligns with her own case which leads her confused more than ever.

Stephen Graham is not limited to one timeline, his intense performance deepens the storyline, leaving viewers jumpy. Amaka Okafor, Shira Haas, Kyle Soller, and Jacob Fortune-Lloyd’s distinctive acting and effective dialogue delivery are appreciated but Fortune-Lloyd deserves a standing ovation for his shining performance. Graham and Soller’s costumes and makeup are on point in the show.

Jacob Fortune-Lloyd

Jacob Fortune-Lloyd as DS Whiteman in Bodies

With each episode comes mind-blowing twists that keep you on edge all the time. Each detective’s personal story and connection to people close to them adds more depth to their character and the choices they make. Even till the end of the last episode, the series holds your attention profoundly. Different timelines connected to one another may cause confusion at first but it only adds more fun to the story that leaves us in shock.

Now, if it reminds you of Netflix’s other popular German series Dark, directed by Baran bo Odar, then we can’t blame you. Bodies and Dark are not related to each other but they draw strong parallels to one another and it’s mainly due to different timelines, time travel, and hard-to-understand relations between the two characters. Although characters in Bodies are not connected to each other deep and twisted like in Dark but you need to keep a close eye to understand their connection. Dark, starring German actors Louis Hofmann and Lisa Vicari, is Netflix’s one of the most popular supernatural twists series and it is safe to assume that Bodies is no less than the 3-season German series.

Time portal in 'Dark' vs 'Bodies'

Time Portal in ‘Dark’ vs ‘Bodies’

Stephen Graham’s Bodies is a mind-bending, thriller series full of brilliant performances. Its captivating narrative and depth keep the viewers engaged and entertained.

Bodies is available to stream on Netflix.

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