A bleak and handsome Polish crime-thriller that might well find a wider international audience thanks to lockdown curiosity — and it probably deserves it.
You have to imagine that a show like The Mire, a dour, handsomely-produced six-part Polish crime thiller, would do decently well on Netflix whenever it was released — such things tend to, after all, language barrier be damned. But given the current state of affairs and viewership so locked-in to the platform that streaming quality has to be reduced to preserve bandwidth, The Mire might be just what a lonely audience needs to sink into.
Set in 80s Eastern Europe and concerning not only murder but a spate of teen suicides, this is a grim, moody affair that proceeds along familiar lines but with enough style to get by. The obvious title gives away most of what you need to know about the show, but the digestible six-episode first season is stewarded by a capable ensemble including Andrzej Seweryn, Zofia Wichlacz, Dawid Ogrodnik — experienced, talented actors all. National talent helps to embed an audience in the setting, which is an obvious selling point given its dour atmosphere and general lack of representation in popular media.
While Netflix is increasingly providing a home and an audience for international content and its lesser-known stars, certain genres remain overcrowded on the platform and I’m not sure The Mire does enough to stand out among one of the most popular ones. It’s engaging and effective without any of the qualities that separate real stand-out heavy-hitters from the pack, but there’s nothing at all wrong with handsome, efficient genre entertainment such as this. We’ll see if Netflix’s quarantined viewership agrees.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.