Netflix’s first Colombian Original is a success, delivering a moody and evocative female-focused crime thriller that opens a wide door for the platform’s planned exploits across Latin America.
It’s difficult to talk about Netflix’s first-ever* Colombian Original, the eight-part crime limited series Green Frontier, out today, without also talking about what it means for the streaming giant’s on-going path to world streaming domination. The platform has hosted Colombian shows before, including the mammoth Undercover Law, and its Spanish-language output boasts some heavy hitters, such as Money Heist. But Green Frontier boasts more of a creative pedigree, and has been marketed as such; filmed in Spanish and entirely on-location in Colombia, the Oscar-nominated Ciro Guerra worked on the show behind the camera and Juana del Río, who was also in the aforementioned Undercover Law, stars as young Bogotá-based detective, Helena, who gets drawn into the Amazon in order to investigate the homicides of four women that occurred on the border between Brazil and Colombia.
*Editor’s note: Filmmaker Peter Webber was kind enough to reach out to us and clarify that his film, Pickpockets, is also Colombian and also a Netflix Original, and came out two years prior. So, you know, there’s that.
This is a good, visually-striking show. It’s well-constructed top-to-bottom and opens a wide door for Netflix’s further plans across Latin America, including six Original Colombian shows. By tapping into a marketable genre shot on-location in a distinctly tropical setting, Green Frontier whets appetites for more of the same; whether or not they live up to the loftily evocative standards of this first outing remains to be seen, but this makes for a promising start.
While the basic plot of Green Frontier is a murder mystery, it contorts and expands through the nippy eight-episode run to incorporate the region’s history, culture, and superstitions, getting flexible with its genre and tone all the while. Del Río is joined by Nelson Camayo, Ángela Cano, Marcela Mar, Mónica Lopera, Miguel Dionisio, Bruno Clairefond, Andrés Crespo, and Gabriella Campagna as various supporting cast members, but the focus is firmly on del Río’s Helena and her origins, giving the whole affair a strong female focus.
Grim, eerie and intense, with Green Frontier Netflix is on to a winner, and while it’ll inevitably be overshadowed by the latest season of Mindhunter, a savvy binge-watcher might do well to get lost in the Amazon this weekend.