Netflix has this weird habit of surprising (and disappointing) us each and every time. Scavenging up hidden gems and bringing it in front of the world. Such happened with the Spanish show, Money Heist, aka, Lacasa de Papel. The show had already gained enough reputation and fame, not only from the Spanish speakers but also from the English speakers, thanks to our advanced dubbing technology. But for those who are still Money Heist virgin and want to know what the hype is about, this article will help you to understand the situation better.
The drama series started broadcasting on Spanish network Antena 3 in May, 2017 and was on-air till November,2017. The show caught the eyes of Netflix, and thus, took over the show, divided into 22 episodes, spreading over 2 seasons. The online platform went on with the third and fourth season, which was streamed this year, with 8 episodes on each season.
The show starts with the narration of Tokyo, a wanted criminal in Spain, who was rescued from a weird, strange man, coming out of nowhere. The man is popularly known as the “Professor”, who confessed that he was planning a bank heist, and is gathering all the former criminals who have nothing to lose. And the amount of money we are talking about here is €2.4 billion! As the plot progresses, we get to know that eight criminals took up fake names, inspired from the name of the cities, and agrees to few conditions, such as no one would share their background, family or form romantic relationships, or any bond which will ruin the atmosphere of the robbery. The leader, the Professor, goes on to explain his plan to rob The Royal Mint of Spain but does not discuss the motive behind the heist.
But before we start with the plot, we must appreciate the costume designer of the show, just the right outfit for any mysterious heists- red jumpsuit and Salvador Dali mask. Also, the music director, who gifted us such a soulful intro song. Even if you don’t like the show, you are bound to love the song.
Season 1 opens with the introduction of the criminals and goes on to discover the complicated relationship of Arturo, the bank manager, and his secretary, Monica (an extra-marital affair), who discovers that she is pregnant with his child. This creates tension between the two. On the other hand, Allison Parker, a governor’s daughter, is on a school trip to the Mint’s museum. During all this chaos, the criminals manage to take over the bank and takes away the hostages’ cell phones. Meanwhile, our Professor keeps an eye on the ongoing from a dilapidated room, and negotiates with the police, especially with the negotiator, Raquel. The present situation was perfectly juxtaposed with flashbacks to the training estate, where Tokyo narrates her blooming relationship with Rio, another fellow criminal in the group. Meanwhile, Raquel becomes more involved with her new friend Salva, oblivious to the fact that he is the Professor.
The situation gets even more complicated in the next season, as the police discovered the villa where the robbers planned the heist, Raquel asks the Professor to drive her to the site as she is close to a nervous breakdown, where she meets her ex-husband, whom she divorced for domestic violence. Berlin had a fuss with Tokyo, making him to hand-over her to the police. Rio, as a result, betrays the group to save his lover and goes against them. Arturo is punished for his multiple attempts to escape and an explosive device is taped to his chest. And lastly, Raquel garners feelings for the Professor and falls into a dilemma.
Lacasa de Papel teaches us a lot many lessons, and one of the predominant lessons is to stay attached to it’s cultural roots. The show did not divert from it’s Spanish background to that of the English, even after it’s fame, which forms the major flavour. Emotional dynamics like the passion and impulsivity of friendship and love offset the perfect strategic crime for increased tension.
Critics say that since the series was filmed after the Spanish financial crisis, it might have been an answer as well as a protest against the capitalist government. Professor’s teaching scenes in the hiding estate, in particular, highlighted how people should seek to develop their own solutions for the fragile,capitalist system. The viewers could relate to the story and maybe, in someway wanted the same revenge from the bank people.
For the first time, antagonists and anti-heroes gains such positive support and a huge character development was seen throughout the four seasons. Examples include Berlin, who shifts from a robber mistreating hostages, to one of the series’ most beloved characters. The show has also portrayed strong female leads, like that of Tokyo, Nairobi, Monica and Raquel, who surpasses the men and takes control of difficult situations. Instances such, when Nairobi shares her motive behind joining the group, in order to get back the custody of her son, or Raquel getting out of an abusive marriage, and tackling the criticisms from her workspace.
“Let the matriarchy begin.”
One fan says, ” Money Heist, the best TV show I’ve watched so far- it deals with mind games and strategies which makes you awestruck. If you’re an amient fan of robbers and like watching heists then this is a must watch . You’ll never feel bored while binging on it . What’s exciting is the blend of mind games and emotions one could have ,your intelligence and emotions don’t go hand in hand which is portrayed in the best possible manner”
— AQSA Butt (@iamAqsaShafiq) May 20, 2020
Another one says, “In the first look of this robbery gang we assume that they are robbers but after sometime they will actually become heroes. There are some situation where you must cry. Police Or government did several things wrong to them but they did nothing wrong even having so much guns etc they used those but no one killed by them. For so many reasons of heroic things they become idols and get support from public.”
— Adaobi Onugha (@AdaobiOnugha) May 19, 2020
Money Heist stars the Spain famous Úrsula Corberó as Tokyo, Álvaro Morte as the Professor/ Salva, Pedro Alonso as Berlin, Itziar Ituño as Raquel, Alba Flores as Nairobi, Miguel Herrán as Rio, Esther Acebo as Mónica, Enrique Arce as Arturo, Jaime Lorente as Denver and many more.
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