Rosario Dawson in Ava DuVernay’s HBO Max Series

Boasting a provocative premise, a solid cast, and a pair of powerhouse directors, HBO Max adapts Vertigo’s DMZ provide key elements for attraction. Unfortunately, that’s another television segment that’s too long or too short, but doesn’t fit its current length.

DMZ was a poorly constructed one hour to four hour pilot. It’s filled with big ideas that never come to fruition and characters that have no room to grow.

DMZ

Key point

Too short to expand on its politics, too long to maintain momentum.

Release date: Thursday, March 17 (HBO Max)

Cast: Rosario Dawson, Benjamin Bratt, Freddy Miyares, Hoon Lee, Jordan Preston Carter, Venus Ariel, Jade Wu, Rey Gallegos, Agam Darshi, Juani Feliz

Creator: Roberto Patino in Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli’s Vertigo series


Brought to the small screen by Roberto Patino, DMZ centers on Alma (Rosario Dawson), a medic separated from her son during an evacuation from New York City at the heart of the Second American Civil War. Years later, there are still 300,000 people in what is considered a completely isolated demilitarized zone between the two countries in an overall context that the series simply doesn’t have time to explain.

Although the last place Alma saw her son running was behind her on Evacuation Day, she spent years looking for him elsewhere and she decided that now was the time to sneak in. DMZ to look for him. None of her motives or schedules make sense, but try not to choose different things.

As she enters the DMZ, Alma discovers that the city is ruled by a series of bickering factions categorized by ethnicity and neighborhood, much like in the 1979 Walter Hill film. The Warriors there’s just no sense of fancy or expensive flair. Because New York City is still a small world, Alma has a personal relationship with Wilson (Hoon Lee), who lives in Chinatown, and Parco (Benjamin Bratt), the leader of the Spanish Harlem Kings. Her appearance alternates with the first democratic elections in the DMZ, with both Wilson and Parco seeking to consolidate power for different reasons that make little sense, but are not sufficiently provocative.

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It’s a performance of artificial deadlines that can’t turn a ticking clock into anything resembling suspense. The first episode gives Alma a 24-hour timetable for getting in and out of the DMZ, but despite updating us regularly as the sand falls out of the hourglass, the series still shows Alma sitting around chatting with people with little impact or aimlessly roundabout. What if she is out of business and leaves the DMZ after 24 hours? Doesn’t have any meaning. Having then proven that deadlines don’t matter, the series begins its countdown less than a week before the election, again failing to create tension from an approaching goal. It is an imposed structure because otherwise DMZ may be just a part of life’s treatment of everyday existence in a uniquely speculative world. But what could happen to that?

The world of the fascinating series is theoretically an extension of the tribalism that fuels so much of today’s political conversation, whether it’s the regions of the states that voted to float secession or how whose hot rhetoric always comes down to “If you don’t like it, then why don’t you just leave? ” – or, in the case of immigrant groups, “Why don’t you go back to where you came from?” In DMZeveryone likely to leave New York City leaves New York City, which means most clearly “white people” and “rich people”, making the series explore willing U.S. citizens. willing to leave behind (and for how long).

It’s a powerful metaphor, one that would have been expressed much more effectively if the four episodes had given the series any chance to dig into how the people in the DMZ really were living. Instead, shows are meaningless deadlines, twists and turns that would come as no surprise to a single viewer, and the deaths of as many characters as those who played the final episode could make sense if we spend more time with those characters.

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Narrative, DMZ just could not succeed in resolving the constraints of its limited chaining framework. On the surface, it works a little better thanks to pilot director Ava DuVernay as well as Ernest Dickerson, who directed the next three episodes. The series is geared towards a sweaty close-up, frequently offering close-ups and tight hand-holding that you can pretend to be to highlight performances from a group that is generally fine. , that’s how I describe Dawson fierce but not transformative. The ones who stand out are probably Lee and Bratt as power-hungry people who flirt with nationalist caricatures. As an evil character/artist with a soul named Skel, Freddy Miyares has a distinctive look, but most of his acting opportunities are limited in a terribly thin love story. terrible.

More realistically, intimacy connotes how small the program can be, due to COVID or budget constraints. In addition to a few Post-Apocalyptic photos 101 photos of parts of the city in ruins, which are usually less populated DMZ never feels epic and the production of the shot in Atlanta certainly never feels authentically based on New York – that’s something you probably don’t have to worry about when you have directors focused on the rooms are dark, filtered, and sometimes the warehouse or factory is empty. Dickerson choreographed the series’ only memorable action in the third episode, only to follow it up with a “final” that was a combination of contrived conclusions and hopeful settings for adventures. save for the future in case audiences flock to the series.

It’s easy to see how these four episodes can pique enough curiosity to keep viewers hooked, but harder to see how. DMZ will keep them watching.

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