The “Someone Must Die” miniseries, starring Ester Exposito (“Elite”) and Alejandro Speitzer (“Dark Desire”), has been available from October 16 on Netflix. Is this suspenseful soap against a backdrop of homophobia and Franco’s Spain worth the detour?
What is it about ?
In 1950s Spain, a couple brings their son back from Mexico in an attempt to marry him off, but is amazed when he arrives alongside a ballet dancer, suspected of being her boyfriend. A scandal for this family of high society which will soon have dramatic consequences … and murderous.
Available on Netflix since October 16. 3 episodes seen out of 3.
What does it look like ?
Who is it with?
Created by Manolo Caro, to whom we owe La Casa de las flores, Someone Must Die brings together a very nice range of Spanish and Mexican actors, among whom Netflix subscribers will easily recognize a few familiar faces.
Present in the credits of the first three seasons of Elite, Ester Expósito returns to the limelight thanks to the role of Cayetana Aldama, a young woman of high Spanish society whose plague side is reminiscent of her character of Carla in the Netflix teen hit. She notably gives the answer to Alejandro Speitzer, recently in the credits of the burning Sombre desire (released this summer on the streaming platform), to Cécilia Suarez (Paulina in La Casa de las flores), and to Carlos Cuevas (Merli). Not to mention Carmen Maura, Pedro Almodovar’s favorite actress (Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown, Matador, Volver), who lends her features to the grandmother of Gabino Falcon, the young hero played by Speitzer. A matriarch ready to do anything to achieve her goals.
Well worth a look ?
Netflix users are fond of thriller movies and series, and that the streaming giant has understood. For his new original Hispano-Mexican creation, Manolo Caro has therefore brought together all the ingredients that have made the success of La Casa de Papel, Elite, Alta Mar, or even Dark Desire within a single plot which mixes drama in costumes, thriller, mystery, and sensuality. An almost magical recipe that may not always work. And Someone Must Die (Alguien tiene que morir in original version) is unfortunately the proof. Because despite its short duration, this mini-series in three episodes of 50 minutes barely catching us and the promise of the starting pitch is never completely kept. Indeed, those who expected a whodunit in the vein of Knives Out or Agatha Christie’s novels will be quickly disappointed by the path taken by the writers of the series, who have chosen to delay the long-awaited death (sold in the title) until the outcome and to make the first two episodes (out of three) too long exposure.
Located somewhere between Grand Hôtel, for its assumed soap side, and Les Demoiselles du Téléphone, for its historical setting which necessarily gives it a political dimension, Someone Must Die does not lack good ideas and aesthetic qualities. The costumes and sets are magnificent, the atmosphere is set from the opening scene, and the return of Gabino Falcon to his family, after 10 years in Mexico, highlights enough secrets and unspoken to arouse our curiosity and make us want to let ourselves be caught by the whirlwind that threatens to hit this dysfunctional family, bruised by its share of dramas, prejudices, and prohibitions which are all reflections of Franco’s Spain in which evolve characters.
Because of the ambient homophobia that reigned at the time and a rumor spread by jealousy, Gabino and his friend Lazaro (Isaac Hernandez) are accused of being in a relationship and find themselves being chased from all sides. Including by Gregorio (Ernesto Alterio), Gabino’s own father, who works for a detention center where homosexuals are locked up. And it’s undoubtedly this spotlight on the persecution of the gay community under Franco’s regime that turns out to be the most interesting aspect in Someone Must Die. An element of the plot that we would have liked more developed and which, over the course of the series, is found more and more drowned under a layer of soap and bombast not always very digestible. Even when you love soap.
Behind its facade of social drama, Someone Must Die ultimately turns out to be a rather superficial suspense series, which doesn’t add anything very new to the genre in which it is part (we still get a good old family secret), without being completely unpleasant to look at. We simply regret that Manolo Caro, the creator, did not play the mystery card either and did not find a way to allow his characters to fully exist outside the archetypal framework that he has set for them. In a social realism that he seems to have sought, without ever having succeeded in reaching it. The less demanding viewers will certainly find what they are looking for, but from a critical point of view, one cannot help but think that three episodes is too much for this story which would undoubtedly have deserved to be narrowed into a film. hour and a half, given the few narrative issues it presents. And then, of course, there’s that rushed and failed ending that leaves us on a note of intense frustration and disappointment. And that is difficult to understand, so much has been done during the two and a half episodes that preceded to bring us, slowly but surely, to this astonishing conclusion that we prefer to forget. Gabino’s story, faced with intolerance from his family and his country, deserved better. And above all more finesse.