Are there any people around that the name Pablo Escobar doesn’t mean anything to them? The younger ones maybe… But for those who are over 35 years old, it is impossible not to know the name of one of the most notorious and legendary criminals of the 20th century. Speaking for myself, I knew some things about Pablo Escobar and his “business”, but I never understood why especially this guy was so famous. Well, now I know!
For those that haven’t guessed it already, ‘Narcos’ is a documentary-like (on many occasions) series, about the rise and fall of the legendary Colombian “King of Cocaine” Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria. The 1st season consists of 10 episodes (each episode varies from 45 – 55 minutes) and I watched them all in just 3 days! Yes, it is THAT good!
But let’s take it from the start:
Narcos is a very good show where bad men do bad things and good people get hurt. There have been plenty of movies or shows that cover this familiar ground, but Narcos in maybe one of the best ones. The first episode of the series opens with the quote: “Magical realism is defined as what happens when a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something too strange to believe. There is a reason magical realism was born in Colombia“, and they are right. I mean, many people, including myself, have heard the story of Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria, the man that came from nothing, built an empire on drug money and was even featured in Forbes magazine, worth more money than General Motors.
Narcos does a great job of introducing us to the figure of Pablo Escobar, the family man who was also a kingpin, the man with so much money he could buy anything and anyone. Not only do we get to know him as a character so driven by his ambition, we also get to know the events that led to the mass production and trafficking of cocaine, and most importantly; the meaning behind the politics at the time which are vital in order to fully understand Escobar’s story. Indeed, magical realism was born in Colombia; there is no other way to tell this story without having people wondering what’s real and what isn’t. Personally, after each episode, I found myself doing a research on the internet, because every time I was saying: “No, that is impossible! It probably never happened”. But guess what? EVERYTHING that is described in this show happened, and to be honest, many more actually happened, that are not included.
In the role of Escobar we see the Brazilian actor Wagner Moura, in the role of his life! Moura, moved to Escobar’s hometown of Medellin in order to understand the real-life man and the culture behind his character. Furthermore, he learned Spanish and gained about 10 kilos (maybe more) especially for the role. After all these, the only thing we can do is to congratulate him for his efforts and his fantastic performance. (He received a Golden Globe award for his acting in Narcos).
[At this point I should mention that I read many complaints from Spanish speaking viewers, that his accent is really bad and that influenced their opinion on the show. (I forgot to mention that in a big part of the show, the actors speak Spanish, which I think it was a brilliant idea. And since I don’t speak any Spanish, I had no problem with that).]
Now, if you are planning to watch Narcos, have in mind that this is not a show to have on in the background while you pay your bills, or doing something else (particularly if you don’t speak Spanish). It requires your full attention, but it’s totally worth it! Narcos rewards its viewers with a fast pace and something new and surprising that is happening all the time. Most importantly, the events are so strange that unless you’re extremely familiar with Colombian news from the late ’80s and early ’90s, you’re not going to be able to guess what’s coming next.
I could go on and write more details on the subject, but I will not do so. You’ll have to see it and form your own opinion.
Just have in mind that Narcos is a very violent series, therefore it should be not watched by kids or people who are not fond of violent scenes.
By clicking on the YT link below, you will be able to see a trailer and have an idea.
As for my rating, I will give a solid 9.0 out of 10.0