1704006744 Berlin Does the formula work to repeat the success of

“Berlin”: Does the formula work to repeat the success of “La casa de papel”?

Every global television success implies a chain effect: the need to continue with this universe arises (tell it to Marvel), and to the added pressure of repeating the triumph and glory comes the risk of failure. The makers of Money Heist knew that everything was at stake before they ventured into a spin-off that takes place earlier in time and makes one of the thieves from the popular series the protagonist in the title: Berlin.

The ingredients are clear from the first minute: it is a product derived from La casa de papel, winks here and winks there, with ingredients and tone of the classic spectacular heist productions (think Ocean's Eleven: the multidisciplinary team that Action with a very similar music in the background, the jumping trick in the third chapter, etc.), international locations (a contemporary Paris that reminds us of Lupine) and humor to balance the bet. As with the international success of Esther Martínez Lobato and Alex Pina, let's add to the cocktail one or more love stories and musical themes that the viewer will recognize (he will still remember how they made Bella Ciao a global hit) . and we have the essence of this new Netflix and Vancouver blockbuster.

Joel Sánchez and Michelle Jenner in a scene from “Berlin”.Joel Sánchez and Michelle Jenner in a scene from “Berlin”. Tamara Arranz

The starting point of the plot is simple: The Berlin gang wants to steal 44 million jewels from a Paris auction house without leaving any traces. The perfect heist that, by definition, never goes quite right. This crime part is well done, but is burdened by the other half of Berlin, the character and the series: romance. This is a fiction about thieves and love, and it limps along, losing rhythm and lacking nuance. Berlin falls in love with the wife of the gallery owner who is about to be ruined, and it can be more or less intense, but he penetrates the plot and gives it meaning. The same cannot be said for the love stories between the band members: too obvious opposites and a lot of unresolved sexual tension. The heartbreak, that of Berlin (an excessive Pedro Alonso, but who has become accustomed to the role of the shameless thief and dandy psychopath) and that of Damián (his deputy on board, a Tristán Ulloa in his place) work better.

Going back to the heist, we understand that Berlin is not a character made to be liked: he is boastful, pretentious, a snake charmer and more, everything he needs to be. His plan is also over the top, but that's where we are (don't forget where we came from). When the spectator enters, he does so with all the consequences and does not begin to assess whether or not this precision metal thread can cut through the wall of a high-security safe. It's not clear from the story either, because in all of Paris only Estrella Galicia is drunk. By the way, the Paris exteriors are very good, especially the night scenes, and the action scenes are always up to date.

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The second half of the eight chapters (also written by David Oliva and David Barrocal) focus on the events following the robbery. In every group of thieves there is always a traitor or an irresponsible person or both. We won't reveal any more here, but the plot goes towards the mothership, that is, it returns to the universe of La casa de papel: the followers of it are waiting for Najwa Nimri and Itziar Ortuño, the two sub-inspectors who were a central part of the original series and that in the last two chapters they team up with a French police force to hunt down the bad guys, even though the viewer doesn't see it that way.

Incredible? Exaggerated? Fun but impossible? Maybe, but Alex Pina explained his narrative vision in 2021 in EL PAÍS and here Berlin needs to be contextualized: “La casa de papel is crazy because some people could never be locked up in the Bank of Spain because they are destroyed, but there .” You have to do something that has other components, with its own internal rules with which it must be coherent, not with reality, which is negligible from the point of view of fiction. And when you do that, they say: “Where are you going?” Well, gentlemen, there is Marvel, which has been the most watched film in the cinema for 10 years and does not stop gaining weight. The ending remains open for a continuation of the show if it initially becomes another global success, as everyone wants it to be.

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