Photo: ‘Anxious People’
Netflix seems to be on an absolute roll this year with their releases of international shows. With their premieres of now-beloved series such as ‘Squid Game’, ‘Young Royals’, and (most recently) ‘The Silent Sea’, it’s becoming seemingly apparent that Netflix is certainly getting their foot in the door of giving a broader audience a chance to see wonderful shows that come from a multitude of different countries. This brings a lot of opportunities for us to experience a whole look into how we in the USA are similar (and different) to other countries in how they create their shows and all the stories that they tell.
So now, yet again, Netflix is giving us another international treat with its newly released series ‘Anxious People’; and, oh my gosh, how this show is absolutely something of a magnificent bingeable series to release towards the end of 2021. There are endlessly a variety of elements that are contained within ‘Anxious People’ that span far beyond just how thrilling the simple title of the show is, and how those few words perfectly encapsulate what this series is truly all about.
So, Who Do We Point The Finger At?
Based on the novel of the same name by Fredrik Backman, the series follows a father-son team as rather awkward-Esque policemen. The two (Jack and Jim) must figure out who the culprit was after a sudden attempted robbery at a bank soon lead to a hostage situation in a house viewing, and along the way on their investigation Jack and Jim interrogate the various hostages to try to get information; it is through this that we see just how this situation affected them, and insight into the lives that they were living beforehand. A wild turn of events unfold as more and more becomes uncovered about these rather anxious people throughout the show’s run; and all the while, still attempting to figure out just who exactly was the robber in the first place.
The show kicks off in a vulnerable state where a young Jack experiences something that most likely influenced him to become a policeman in the first place. We then flash forward into the current time where we immediately get a sense of the heart-warming relationship between Jack and his father, Jim, and how today will seemingly feel like just another day before New Year’s Eve. But, as we know from the storyline of the show, this doesn’t show up to be true. Ultimate chaos ensues right after the attempted bank robbery as the mysterious robber holds the rest of the characters hostage before letting them go and promptly vanishing into thin air. During the first episode, we’re left wondering just what exactly is going on inside; but luckily, we’re graced with the rest of the series showing us in snippets of the events that unfolded during the whole situation.
I found that starting the series off like this brought a sense of curiosity and made me excited to continue with the next episodes; because while it made have seemed like your typical fictional hostage situation on the outside, you can absolutely tell that there’s something more lying beneath the surface. The storyline of the series made great use of its restriction with being a limited series, and utilized the knowingly short time they had to give us a wonderful plot development of found family, along with what it truly means to be a human forcibly stuck with strangers who have their own lives and stories as well.
Who Are All These Anxious People?
The characters in this show are beyond incredible, and I adored each one of them so much that I endlessly enjoyed getting to learn more about them. I was left with a sense of yearning after each episode as I wanted to know what was going to happen next, and wanted more chances to see how each of these characters emotionally connect with one another. This was not a usual thing for me as I typically subconsciously choose to favor one or two characters over the others, so this was a magical chance for me to have.
The only characters you’ll see in the majority of this series are Jack (Alfred Svensson) and Jim (Dan Ekborg), along with the hostages. These hostages are Roger (Leif Andrée) and his wife Anna-Lena (Marika Lagercrantz), Lennart (Per Andersson), Estelle (Lottie Ejebrant), Zarah (Anna Granath), Julia (Carla Sehn) and her wife Ro (Petrina Solange). One of the hostages that you don’t see the majority of the series though is Maria (Elina Du Rietz), but the reason for that is something that you should watch to see why as it adds an element to the story that makes the mystery even better. As I’ve mentioned above, I certainly loved all these characters and it was incredibly impressive how the writers were able to develop so much within each character despite how many there were.
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Tying in with this, I’d have to say that I feel as though the reason for the feeling of entirely caring about each character is mainly due to the writing coupled with the acting performances. The actors seemed to really understand their characters and their backstories, and they conveyed their past without explicitly telling us in the beginning; beautifully letting us as the audience want to figure out why they are that way. On the writing side of things, each character’s story seemed to coincidently tie in with the overall gist of the main storyline as well. It was also funny to me how much this series oddly reminded me of the film adaptation of ‘Clue’, with each character having their well-developed backstory and being so different from each other; yet they still manage to connect somehow. Just like the first time I experienced ‘Clue’, all the events that were unfolding in ‘Anxious People’ had me watching so eagerly that I forgot to sip the coffee in my hands at times.
With all of this said, nothing about the writing or direction of the acting performances felt off and it all perfectly aligned together that put the small amount of only six episodes to good use, and this is mostly thanks to Felix Herngren’s wonderful directing. This aspect of the show will leave audiences feeling satisfied with the final episode and wrap everything up like a beautiful and mysterious present.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Overall, I’m rather ecstatic that I had such a wonderful rollercoaster of a time watching this series. It especially helps with it being only four hours worth of content, so you can knock out this series in one sitting and still have the rest of your day to be mesmerized by all that this series has to offer. The mystery is thrilling and it makes you want to keep your eyes glued to the screen; and at times when the tension seems to be getting too much, the light comedy within it also makes you want to nervously laugh in the best way because you’ll be completely taken off guard in such a subconsciously beneficial way.
‘Anxious People’ is a series that can excite you and make you yearn to solve the mystery along with the characters, and it can also make you care about people who don’t exist like they are someone you’ve known for quite a while. As someone who’s a huge mystery fan, ‘Anxious People’ is exactly just the fix I needed; and that also goes for all you wonderful fellow mystery fans out there as well.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to go learn some Swedish so I can watch this again and feel even more immersed than before.
By Leah Donato
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