Netflix's "Serpent” is a twisty, real-life story of murder and betrayal set in Asia in the 1970s based on the crimes of French conman and serial murderer Charles Sobhraj (Tahar Rahim). He and his accomplices consistently robbed and killed young hippies seeking adventure in Asia. The Serpent tells the story of how Charles Sobhraj, who killed young western travelers in 1975 and 1976, was brought to justice, even though justice is light on the bottom in the first episode that concentrates mostly on the atmosphere. We see Sobhraj for the first time in 1997, living freely in Paris. Jenna Coleman, Billy Howle, Ellie Bamber among others are some other actors.
The timeline-hopping, often explain that we are either “two months earlier” or “two months later”, is needless and a bit confusing. Maybe that is supposed to build tension, dipping back and forth into what happened to the Dutch couple as Knippenberg discovers a lot about how and why they went missing, however, it struggles to keep up the required sense of dread, although we know roughly how it worked out for them from the start.
The Serpent's setting is a bold one. It is not easy to recreate Bangkok, Hongkong, New Delhi, Bombay, Paris within the 70s, with a cast of actors doing accents starting from French, Dutch-German, Indian to even Australian. It is a troublesome issue to nail without characters coming off as stereotypes, and as a result, robbing the narrative of its seriousness. The accents do not distract from the show's core narrative, however, there is one thing to be aforementioned about Edireweera's polished Indian accent for the character of Ajay Chowdhury, whether or not it's based on fact or is artistic liberty.
"Serpent" fails to maintain the thrill of its drama throughout its eight-episode duration, as terrifying and jaw-dropping as Sobhraj's actions were. The primary five installments make for an engrossing crime series, however the ultimate three-act a lot like an uninteresting document of events. The series is only enjoyable as it draws to a close because of the quality of the performances, particularly Rahim's.
Set principally in Thailand in the 1970s, the series is told from different points of view, jumping between Sobhraj; his partner and lover Marie-Andrée Leclerc (Jenna Coleman); his victims; and Herman Knippenberg (Billy Howle), a junior diplomat from the Netherlands who becomes addicted to taking down Sobhraj after he murders a young Dutch couple.
With slick costumes, beautiful locales, and a bright cast, "Serpent" seems like a part of a sleek true-crime heroic tale. Rahim, who was nominated for a Golden Globe this year for his role in "Mauritanian" alongside Jodie Foster, is the series' shining star. Rahim has the natural beauty and magnetism that helped Sobhraj attract such a large amount of individuals. The actor activates his charm throughout scenes of violence and terror, totally clutching on the role of an unfathomably cruel monster.
The craft behind the Serpent – from the casting to the music to the horridly suspensive setpieces – is excellent. What makes it uncommon among serial-killer dramas is that it cares deeply concerning the victims and also their families additionally because of the detectives and the murderers. Just like the obsessive sleuth Herman Knippenberg, writers Richard Warlow and Toby Finlay think about it as their duty to make sure the dead are remembered and honored. Towards the ending, just like the gangsters in the final stretch of Goodfellas, Sobhraj becomes sloppy and decadent. His cloak of fascination is well worn and soiled; his spell is broken; his would-be prey will finally see him for what he is. When you see the dedication within the closing seconds of the last episode, you're left with no question that while this empty man is also the star of the show, he's not its heart.
Final Score – [7.7/10]
Reviewed by – Ritika Kispotta
Follow her @KispottaRitika on Twitter (https://twitter.com/KispottaRitika)]
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