More from All 4’s Walter Presents…
Deadly Money (Germany, 2018)
When this one came up on my random selector, I thought there must have been a mistake. One series and only two episodes, less than 50 minutes apiece?
It’s a concise drama explaining a fictional version of the 2008 banking crisis. A high-flying executive investment banker expects to take over as CEO.
It’s portrayed as a ruthless business and our banker has to secure a big deal with a Middle Eastern organisation to improve the bank’s share price. He has a team of acolytes to help him but one in particular is a young protege, Tom, who has a talent for maths. Things appear to be going their way but, as we know from the real events, it’s all a dodgy business.
In true German style, the Frankfurt finance quarter appears here as a highly polished, ruthlessly efficient, awesome monster. It makes Wall St. look like the City of London, and the City of London look like the Post Office.
The Team (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, 2015)
I think, perhaps they bit off more than is chewable with this international crime drama. Three senior detectives and their respective bagmen – or women in most cases – go after a Lithuanian human trafficker following a spate of identical murders of sex workers in each of the detectives’ countries. This latter guy has aspirations about being a city banker, running his own respectable bank. Reluctantly, on the nefarious business side, he is in partnership with his ex wife, a rather callous bitch on her own terms.
It’s not bad but it’s not as cool as old Walter made it out to be. One problem I had with it was because the three protagonists had different native languages, interaction is done in English and it sounded a little awkward, like people reading something they didn’t fully understand. Of course, this is probably what would happen in real life, difficulty in communicating, and had they played it that way all would be well, but they didn’t. Also, there were implausibility issues, but I’d let that go as its a drama, and each detective had a messy life story running concurrently, which was, well, messy.
Hey, dismiss those niggles and it isn’t a bad series, and a majority of lead roles for women for a change.
Liberty (Denmark 2018)
Set in Tanzania in the 70s, I initially thought this was made in the 70s. Or my broadband wasn’t functioning as it should. It had a real low-fi feel.
Centred on a social group of Scandinavian expats comprising of exploitative businessmen and do-good aid workers, the brevity and abrupt changes in fortune of the characters saves the drama from being a soap opera in my view. Everyone’s life is dysfunctional and everyone’s hopping into his or hers neighbours’ bed, but fear not, there’s only a modicum of explicit sex.
The main story is the friendship between Christian, the teenage son of aid workers, and, Marcus, the “houseboy” servant of a neighbouring couple. They share an interest in music and getting stoned. Marcus makes mix tapes to sell on the side and aspires to be a DJ. The two then have the idea to set up a dance club in town. They name it “Liberty”.
With the adults falling out and falling in with other spouses, Christian drops out and falls more in with the Tanzanians. Naive, exposed and vulnerable, he finds he has to deal with violent rival forces and a corrupt police force, all the while testing his new friendships.
Yes, I had to check the year of production. 2018. But it’s the 70s. Africa is backwards and corrupt and the whites are exploitative and openly racist. Nevertheless, it’s a drama which has its moments.
Mama’s Angel (Israel 2016)
I have to say this is more like it. If it were a stick of seaside rock, it might have plausible written right through it. Yet there is still a great sense of tension.
The setting is a suburb with a mixture of white and black residents. The police chief has a twenty-two year old daughter in a casual relationship with a young Ethiopian art student who himself intends to leave to study in Holland. The police chief in turn has a tense working relationship with the able head of the criminal forensics team. While she is away undergoing surgery, a seven year old boy from a neighbourhood family turns up dead on a nearby hill, beside a monument upon which someone has recently sprayed graffiti. The police chief exploits the absence of the capable forensics head to arrest and accuse the Ethiopian of murder, ignoring all other likelihoods. When the forensics head returns to work, she finds she has this mess to contend with.
So if the Ethiopian didn’t do it, who did? Our suspicions are teased.