Netflix Kaleidoscope Review: Kaleidoscope’s central puzzle element (you can view the episodes in whatever sequence you please) can’t mask how uninspiring this “Ocean’s Eleven” knockoff heist series is.
You can blame the stiff writing of the characters, the repetition of plot elements, and the length of the logistical explanations for this. It’s bearable to see, but I’m not particularly pleased. Each of the eight episodes in this limited series is named after a color rather than a number (red, orange, white, etc.), emphasizing the series’ focus on color as a narrative device.
This means that the viewer’s experience will be unique depending on when they see the show. However, the big picture is rather dull for a plot that spans 25 years: master thief Leo Pap (Giancarlo Esposito) has just gotten out of prison after nearly two decades behind bars and has organized a crew to pull off an epic robbery that will also give him some measure of revenge.
His prey? Billions in bonds owned by Leo’s old friend and business partner Roger Salas (Rufus Sewell), which explains the emotional connection. Leo’s companion Ava (Paz Vega), and a motley crew of specialists are on hand to carry out a variety of jobs. Still, constant bickering (and worse) among them threatens to ruin the operation at every turn.
The events in the episodes range from before Leo went to prison (which necessitates making the principals younger) to a few weeks before the robbery, the theft itself, and the aftermath.
Authored by Eric Garcia (who has also cited “Pulp Fiction” and “Memento” as sources of non-linear inspiration), “Bandersnatch” joins interactivity à la “Black Mirror” and other TV tricks used to try serving what amounts to old wine in a new bottle through the use of snapping the parts together in different ways.
Nonetheless, it also has the unintentional effect of dampening interest in the characters, who undoubtedly go through terrible things (there are pretty brutal moments) without eliciting much response.
Kaleidoscope, a brand new heist series that can be watched in any order to tell the complete story, is now streaming
Which episode comes up first to start your watch experience? pic.twitter.com/aTOzZELUxs
— Netflix (@netflix) January 1, 2023
The underlying tale, which finds Leo missing his daughter, who grew up without him, is also a little sappy, which doesn’t help matters. The elaborate planning that goes into a robbery like the ones depicted in the aforementioned “Ocean’s” films adds a lot of flavors.
Still, the payoff isn’t as great when those details are spread over a more extended series. In the end, this is just another one of those attempts that put all of its creative energy into its central premise in the vain hope that the central performance by Giancarlo Esposito will be enough to compensate.
Netflix may very well do that with its holiday launch of the series, but the rainbow-hued vision behind “Kaleidoscope” turns out to be more intriguing than the photos it produces. Starting January 1st, you may watch the first episode of “Kaleidoscope” on Netflix.
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