November 27, 2022

The Pitch: A number of years in the past, German inventive/romantic companions Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar made their mark with Netflix’s sci-fi/thriller collection Darkish. Centered round “A lacking little one [who] units 4 households on a frantic hunt for solutions as they unearth a mind-bending thriller that spans three generations,” it was closely praised by critics and audiences. Thus, the roughly two-and-a-half-year wait to see what the duo would do subsequent has been powerful, to place it mildly.

That brings us to their second succinctly-yet-enigmatically-titled present for the streaming service, 1899. This time, “multinational immigrants touring from the outdated continent to the brand new encounter a nightmarish riddle aboard a second ship adrift on the open sea.” Alongside the way in which, numerous truths and connections are found about the principle characters’ backstories and motives, leading to an virtually nonstop path of charming narrative breadcrumbs, haunting musical accompaniments, and beautiful visuals.

On the similar time, although, 1899 can’t assist however really feel a bit repetitive, drawn-out, and unoriginal throughout its first six episodes (which is what’s been screened for critics). Whereas particular particulars received’t be mentioned right here (for apparent causes), suffice it to say that sure plot factors and interactions might’ve occurred sooner, been achieved extra concisely and meaningfully, and/or been reiterated much less often.

Even so, 1899 is an adeptly crafted voyage that earns its place alongside Darkish, and additional cements Friese and Odar as one of many strongest inventive pairs in fashionable tv.

Easy Crusing: Actually, the best power of 1899 is its look, because it’s universally picturesque. From swirling overhead glimpses of the important thing vessels cruising alongside the ominously deserted sea to breathtakingly realized depictions of individuals standing in opposition to vivid backdrops (higher decks, banquet rooms, and so on.), there’s a meticulously elegant and grand scope to only about each scene.

Equally — and no pun supposed—the collection expertly employs contrasts between mild and darkish components. As an illustration, a later episode sees threatening bursts of lightning illuminating in any other case unlit places, in addition to an outstanding shot of one of many principal gamers (Tove, portrayed by Clara Rosager) silhouetted by another person’s flashlight whereas she sits alone in a pitch-black hallway. These juxtapositions, alongside Friese and Odar’s consummate use of shadows, give this system a persistently eerie vibe.

1899 (Netflix)

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