* Prices may differ from that shown
Genre – TV Box Set > Crime Drama
Run Time – 10 x 50 minutes
Certificate – 18R
Country – USA
Golden Globes – 2 Nominations
Awards – 1 Win & 13 Nominations
Amazon – £9.85 DVD £14.99 Blue Ray
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So Narcos, a Netflix big budget mini series about the life and times of a one Pablo Escobar, the world’s most notorious criminal. During Pablo’s peak his criminal empire smuggled an estimated $70 million worth of cocaine every week coming in at about $20 billion profits a year making him one of the richest men in the world. He is supposed to have spent approximately $3000 dollars a month alone on buying rubberbands just for his stashed money. He had so much money coming in he simply couldn’t find enough ways to launder it and so buried it around Columbia. The rats nibbled away at last 10 percent of it amounting to a loss of $2 billion each year. That’s up there with Labor Party wastage!
Playing Pablo here is Brazilian star Wagner Moura, who had to learn Spanish to take on the role. His mother tongue is Portuguese. This is a season one review and chronicles the life of Escobar from the late 1970s, when he first began manufacturing and selling cocaine, to July 1992, when he escaped La Catedral prison, a luxurious jail he was allowed to build for himself in a deal with the weak Columbian government to avoid extradition to America so to face trail there. The season explores the main events that happened in Colombia during this period and Escobar’s relationship to them. That epic story is told through the perspective of Steve Murphy, an American DEA agent working in Colombia.
Wagner Moura ... Pablo Escobar (20 episodes, 2015-2016)
Boyd Holbrook ... Steve Murphy (20 episodes, 2015-2016)
Pedro Pascal ... Javier Peña (21 episodes, 2015-2017)
Paulina Gaitan ... Tata Escobar (19 episodes, 2015-2016)
Juan Murcia ... Juan Pablo Escobar (19 episodes, 2015-2016)
Raúl Méndez ... César Gaviria (17 episodes, 2015-2016)
Jorge Monterrosa ... Trujillo (17 episodes, 2015-2016)
Paulina García ... Hermilda Gaviria (15 episodes, 2015-2016)
Diego Cataño ... La Quica (15 episodes, 2015-2016)
Julián Díaz ... Blackie / ... (15 episodes, 2015-2016)
Joanna Christie ... Connie Murphy (14 episodes, 2015-2016)
María José Sanchez Real ... Manuela (12 episodes, 2015-2016)
Stephanie Sigman ... Valeria Velez (11 episodes, 2015-2016)
Manolo Cardona ... Eduardo Sandoval (10 episodes, 2015-2016)
Juan Pablo Raba ... Gustavo Gaviria (10 episodes, 2015-2016)
Richard T. Jones ... Agent DEA (10 episodes, 2015-2016)
Mauricio Cujar ... Don Berna (10 episodes, 2016-2017)
Matt Whelan ... Dave Mitchell (10 episodes, 2017)
Jorge A. Jimenez ... Poison (9 episodes, 2015-2016)
Danielle Kennedy ... Ambassador Noonan (9 episodes, 2015)
We meet Escobar (Moura) when he first becomes involved in the cocaine trade in Colombia. Before that he was a well known black marketer in Medellin and moving trucks packed full of illegal goods like alcohol, cigarettes, and household appliances over the border to Colombia during a time when this was so not allowed. Here he – and we – are introduced to Mateo "Cockroach" Moreno (Luis Bravo), a Chilean exile in Columbia and amateur chemist, Breaking Bad style, who pitches the idea that they should go into business together, with Moreno producing a new trendy drug called cocaine and Escobar distributing it. The mark up is a hell of a lot more than TVs and radios!
They quickly expand beyond Moreno's small cocaine processing operation by building bigger labs in the rainforest and, using the expertise of Carlos Lehder (Tony Alveres), who moves their product in bulk to Miami through all manner of inventive disguises, where it becomes the choice drug of the rich and famous. But with cocaine's growth into the American market, accounting for a large flow of US dollars to Colombia and escalating drug-related violence in the US, the Americans decide to send a task force from the DEA to Colombia to take on the issue.
Blonde Miami local Steve Murphy (Boyd Holbrook) is partnered with Javier Peña (Pedro Pascal), an Americanized Mexican DEA agent who knows the lay of the land, to head the unit. The role of Murphy's task force is to work with the Colombians to put an end to the flow of cocaine into the U.S. But if thy can find a communist connection with the drugs it will increase the DEA budget big time. They need that budget.
Murphy’s teams arrival in Colombia is not an issue for Escobar yet as he has bigger problems, a chance for Murphy’s young wife Connie (Joanna Christie) to settle in. Pablo is at war with the M-19, a revolutionary group of guerilla communists, looking to overthrow the Columbian government. M-19 is looking for publicity and kidnap drug kingpins the Ochoa brothers', sister Marta (Maria Rodriguez) to achieve that. But Escobar seizes this opportunity to form alliances with other black-marketer criminals to establish a group called "Death to Kidnappers", the genesis of the Medellín cartel. Pablo, the self appointed leader, promise to recover Marta Ochoa unharmed and to prevent further kidnappings, and when he does his power grows again.
Escobar is now insanely rich and also has political ambitions to go with that fiscal power, as he desires to eventually become President of Colombia, the Medellin Cartel up and running. He is elected as a congressman through bribing the people with cash, but is made a mug of when proof of Escobar having criminal ties to the blooming drug industry is brought up in parliament and he is asked to leave in front of the nation. Escobar plots his bloody and brutal revenge as Columbia agrees with America to extradite the narcos to America to face trail. He will stop at nothing to overthrow President César Gaviria (Raúl Méndez) as the drug war begins with the Medellin cartel for the control of the country .
I enjoyed it to a point but I don’t think I will be continuing with season two. I have seen enough to know it’s nothing special. It’s violent but backs off the violent cool Breaking Bad stuff and takes itself too seriously. There is zero humor here. It reminds me the way Boardwalk Empire went for gloss over gritty.
There is some English narration to keep Netflix subscribers onside but there is far more subtitles than I expected, at last 70% of the ten episode disc. We also have gratuitous sex to pull in the adult punters but watching greasy fat drug dealers bonking stunning South American hoars and Bogota housewives is not that sexy though. Archive footage of the real Escobar and Columbia’s drug war is cut in to give it more clout although the acting always remains a little flat and so no character you can really pull for, even the handsome DEA agents. The biggest issue is how uncharismatic Escobar is on screen and obviously he is a major villain and you shouldn’t like him but you need some artistic license in a TV show. He is just a horrible man for ten hours. No one would like this version to become the man of the people he was. Every time a decent fun character arrives, because of the 15-year timeline to get through here, he or she is dead pretty quickly.
The history side is fairly accurate and indeed interesting. We have all heard of this guy but don’t really know the story. It’s actually quite extraordinary what he got up to and the real footage mixed with the drama tells that story well. There is a waver saying some of the characters and situations are made up or embellished but it feels accurate enough.
The big let down and, indeed, red flag, is you are not really into it after two or three episodes, for me, the true test of a good boxset. You have the key characters and locations by then and so it should be clicking. It doesn’t. Pablo is just not a nice guy in anyway here and so you simply don’t care for him, his family, his boys or even the American cops. But with series four fresh off the block someone likes it.
Imdb.com – 8.9 /10.0 (173,123votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 78% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 70% critic’s approval
-Audio Commentaries –
-Establishing the route-
The creator Carlo Bernard talks about his TV series
-The Columbian connection-
More behind the scenes stuff
-The Language Barrier -
It’s mostly a Brazilian production and so they al have to learn Spanish.
The Atlantic –‘It's a worthy effort, to be sure, but worthy doesn't always equal entertaining’.
The Sun –‘For some, Narcos will revive the most troubling TV depictions of Latinos as criminals and drug traffickers, despite the show's heroic efforts to humanize everyone involved’.
Screen Rant –‘Narcos' use of narration sometimes comes off more like the writers don't fully trust the audience. Viewers are being told what is important rather than being shown why it is important’,
New York Daily News –‘Narcos makes a chillingly persuasive case that the high-level drug biz isn't fundamentally different from most other business. Supply, demand. Risk, reward;.
Indie Wire –‘An unlikeable character, no matter the circumstances, remains unlikeable, but an unlikeable character trumps a bland blonde man whose position of authority appears to be his only really interesting character trait, no matter how much voice-over he utters’.
Boston Herald –‘This dramatization of the rise of Pablo Escobar into the most notorious and lethal drug kingpin of South America is nonetheless compelling, and the story moves briskly, making it a great bingeworthy treat’
At £149 I think this is a pretty good deal on Apple's part. Not only do you get OS X Leopard (which in itself used to cost around that £140 mark) but you also get the latest editions of iLife and iWork.
I found this product very useful, I didn't want to be stuck with OS X Tiger, while everybody else was buying new macs with Leopard pre-installed. A lot of applications I wanted to install on my macbook no longer offered Tiger support, so I knew I had to upgrade.
The installation was pretty quick too, and once it booted up I was amazed at the differences, both subtle and vast. Display seemed richer, things seemed to snap into place quicker, and my productivity was increased.
However, I didn't really want to buy iWork as I don't really use it, but buying Leopard an iLife separately worked out more expensive, so I opted for the Box Set.
One other thing, I also wished I waited that bit longer to upgrade, as Apple are releasing a newer version of their OS X, Snow Leopard.
It will only be available to Tiger users as part of a new Snow Leopard, iLife and iWork Box Set, due to be released this September!
So a bit gutted about that really.
Overall though, I am happy with OS X Leopard though, it gives me everything I need and much more.