A new French production landing on Netflix, The Revolution promises us to revisit history with a bit of Pacte des Loups fantasy. Unless shouting its rebellion too much, the series quickly becomes deafening.
Everyone knows the French Revolution. 1789, the storming of the Bastille and all the Aristocracy who no longer know where to turn. Except there’s History with a capital H, and history with a capital N. For this new French production Netflix, so we promise to tell us what really happened, what the book never told us.
After 3 episodes (out of 8), we now know why it is staying silent. The plot begins in 1787 and while the nobles celebrate, the people are slowly dying. Suddenly, the winds of rebellion began to blow as a mysterious virus, blue blood, began to spread among the strong. In short, this is the Yellow Vest and Covid, slightly ahead of the curve. In the midst of all this, a young aristocrat, Elis de Montargis, and a young doctor, Joseph Guillotin – the future inventor of the grown-up version of butter-cutting thread – will try to win love and peace in the world (yes, like Miss France).
So what’s the difference between Netflix’s La Révolution and Stéphane Bern? The first bet is happily on the fantastic side. We soon learn that blue blood has the gift of reviving the dead. Zombie or not, we won’t know (yet) much more, even if lots of clues guide the answer.
The series is so well written – we’ll get back to the irony of this – we almost want to think that the guillotine and the beheaded will have some connection to the infected royalty. French Revolution Version of Walking Dead? You didn’t dream it, creators Aurélien Molas and Gaïa Guasti may have done it. All of these theories will no doubt find most of the answers in the following episode,
Revolution will not happen
To be honest, we’ll be careful not to get too categorical about the overall quality of the series, which probably makes up for it – and we look forward to it – after. But these first 3 episodes didn’t live up to our expectations and it must be admitted that the desire to discover the rest was non-existent. Blame it on a roughly written story, supporting every key element without any subtlety. On paper, combining History and fantasy can bring something interesting, but here, this mix of historical fact and discovery constantly weighs on the whole, as if one of the two is out of place; ugly ducklings change depending on the situation. There is a heavy feeling, the first level is too supportive, not to mention the repeated political discourse. And when horror and horror invite themselves, we fall into an overdose.
By wanting to do well, creators have fallen into the trap of doing too much. Too many characters, too much mixing, too much practice, too much emphasis… Nothing is right and that’s what prevents us from rewarding this risk-taking with beautiful promises. In order not to lose the audience the series is growing and if it gives rhythm it prevents us at the same time immersing ourselves in the story and we get bored quickly. Despite the series’ good but clunky narrative intent, The Revolution suffers from a major problem: casting. As if he didn’t believe it himself, the whole thing was playing an unnatural exaggeration. The lines are academic, read aloud. An artificial game that guillotines the credibility of the characters and what they want to tell.
Not everything is negative. Although the performance is quite bombastic, it is not bad especially during action scenes. Here again, we feel all the desire to do well with a series with light play and framing that, wanting to be original, shows all the ambition from the very first minute. If, to this, we add attention to costumes and sets, La Révolution has real visual appeal. We can blame a lot of things with this production, but we can’t deny that there’s real work behind it. Initial errors can always be corrected. We really hope they are in the next episodes.