Quicksand Review: Teen Drama Meets Nordic Noir on Netflix

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: April 5, 2019 (Last updated: last month)
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Quicksand (Netflix) Review
Quicksand (Credit - Netflix)


With a ripped-from-the-headlines premise and a compelling central mystery, Swedish series Quicksand will undoubtedly attract a binge-watching crowd.

Quicksand, a six-part Swedish Netflix series based on the same-titled book by Malin Persson Giolito, is part of a recent spate of international teen-focused shows, like Baby and Elite, that hope to court the binge-watching crowd with controversy. Baby was about a real-life teen prostitution scandal set against the backdrop of an elite and rigidly stratified private school, much like Elite, which was basically a Spanish Riverdale with a sharper eye for economic disparity.

There’s a similar school in Quicksand, but a crucial difference: Here, the protagonist, 18-year-old Maja Norberg (Hanna Ardéhn), wakes up in the aftermath of a bloody school shooting for which she’s blamed.

It’s a ripped-from-headlines hook that uses the intriguing dramatic question of “did she do it?” to breezily propel the series through six highly binge-able episodes. The time-hopping structure is reminiscent of the first season of The Sinner, or, I suppose, 13 Reasons Why, with an unreliable protagonist and the constant drip-feeding of new details that give the devastating incident of violence more context and clarity.

Of particular relevance is Maya’s relationship with her boyfriend Sebastian (Felix Sandman), the scion of a wealthy and dysfunctional family.

Hanna Ardéhn as Maya in Quicksand (Credit – Netflix)

There’s no way that Quicksand, despite little international promotion, doesn’t entice a sizeable audience. Its complex teen characters and compelling central mystery are tailor-made for a “just one more episode” marathon, and with such a short season order, it’s a bite-sized experience in comparison to many.

Hanna Ardéhn capably keeps the show grounded with her performance, while the show’s creator and writer, Camilla Ahlgren, is an experienced scripter of Nordic Noir. All the elements are in place.

Since one of those elements is a school shooting, there’s a strong chance the series will attract some kind of controversy, even though the series opens in its aftermath and builds back towards the calamitous event with a degree of patience and consideration.

Then again, a lot was made of the so-called controversy in Baby before its release, and predictably, nothing came of it. Spinning news as entertainment is not a new or frightening trend; it’s an unavoidable outgrowth of our complicated culture. If Quicksand gives some viewers a sinking feeling, well… maybe that’s the point.

RELATED: Quicksand Full Series Recap

Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Reviews
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