Review: Money Heist (La Casa de Papel)

 
 

Creator: Álex Pina

Writers: Esther Martínez Lobato, Javier Gómez Santander, Pablo Roa, Fernando Sancristóval

Starring: Úrsula Corberó, Álvaro Morte, Itziar Ituño

Release Date: Part 1 and 2 available now on Netflix

 

It’s easy to overlook foreign language TV shows. It seems like too much effort and, besides, there’s so much out there in English for us to get through. Well take yourself out of that restrictive mind frame because there are a lot of great series out there that you’re denying yourself. Thanks to streaming, they’re more accessible than ever before.

Money Heist, or La Casa de Papel in its original version, is one of these great shows. It centres around nine robbers who attempt the most ambitious robbery in history. Their aim is to break into La Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre, where money is printed in Spain, and stay there for as long as possible while they print mammoth sums of unmarked cash.

It centres around nine robbers who attempt to the most ambitious robbery in history.

The plan is meticulously crafted and studied for months before the heist begins and the robbers are prepared for everything. Tasked with stopping them is the head of the police force, Raquel Murillo (Itziar Ituño). She, and the mastermind behind the robbery, El Profesor (Álvaro Morte), enter a psychological warfare via telephone conversations.

The action shots are excellent throughout the series, and the acting itself is great for the most part, with just a few of the minor characters lowering the standard marginally. The use of flashback scenes to develop character backstories and the study time before the heist, allows the action to begin in the first episode.

The show is very well made and extremely clever. Who is good and who is evil is immediately clear, but at times it can be hard to tell who you’re rooting for. That was the aim of El Profesor who designed the plan, with winning the public opinion in mind. There is so much auxiliary action to the heist that it’s easy to get swept up in rooting for the bad guys.

The series was made by Artesmedia in Spain and when Netflix picked it up they decided to split season one into two parts. As of April 6th, both parts are available to stream. I watched it in the original version with Spanish audio and English subtitles, but other options are available.

I highly recommend checking it out, it’s the best show I’ve watched in a long time, in any language.

In a nutshell: An adrenaline-pumping, TV-version of a page-turner. One episode is never enough.

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