THE INNOCENT

I’ve seen enough creepy kids.
Not like this, we dare say. So realistic and grounded in everyday life in a small residential area on the outskirts of Oslo, Eskil Vogt’s Norwegian film is extra creepy. Four children who are stuck in the blocks during the holidays form a supernatural and gloomy friendship.

Socialism, I say. So it’s not so bad?

The work is driven by a series of disturbing scenes rooted in the story of how several of the children discover they have kinetic or telepathic abilities. And, as the title implies, these are not innocent children. Vogt depicts childhood as a place of conflicting emotions, ranging from close friendships to evil and bullying. It’s not pretty, but it’s nerve-wracking and intense.

Fans of mystery thrillers should check out Oriol Paulo’s work. Its unmatched suspense and unexpected twists have wowed international audiences, including The Invisible Guest and Mirage.

These aren’t cheap shock endings. But his stories unfold with grace and pacing that allow us to enjoy each graceful reveal as if reading a modern-day Agatha Christie.

With El inocente, his record is spotless. Based on a Harlan Coben novel, the series begins with a violent crime involving young Mateo (Mario Casas). Nine years later, he felt he had served his time and could move on. In his new life with his wife Olivia (Aura Garrido), he quickly discovers that the past isn’t quite over.

Oriol Paulo is at ease in the limited series format. His mastery of suspense keeps us wanting more, especially when we learn more about the characters than we see. The 8-episode length allows the filmmaker to go deeper into the characters’ dilemmas.

Because of this dream Paulo/Corben collaboration, and a supporting cast of solid performances, the Netflix series never lags in the middle. Each episode builds anticipation for answers, until the final moment cleverly shakes up our version of reality for the last time.

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