Inept, illogical, longwinded, and thoroughly bizarre, Breathe: Into the Shadows is a woeful effort at a dramatic thriller.
This review of Breathe: Into the Shadows is spoiler-free.
Amazon Prime’s Breathe: Into the Shadows, a nominal follow-up to 2018’s bizarre Breathe given the ominous subtitle treatment but precious few organic narrative links, is woeful. That isn’t a term I use lightly, you understand, but it’s probably the best one for this ridiculous tale of a man who is forced to become a serial killer in order to rescue his kidnapped daughter. That man, Avinash, played by Abhishek Bachchan, is a thriving psychiatrist with a chef wife, Abha (Nithya Menen), and a diabetic daughter, Siya (Ivana Kaur), who promptly disappears from a friend’s birthday party.
This is a familiar setup, and you can build some good stories out of it, but Breathe: Into the Shadows is not a good story. It’s supposed to be about parenthood, loss, and how far you’ll go to save the ones you love, which are all compelling themes; what it’s really about is Avinash becoming a deranged serial killer in the space of two episodes.
There’s a vague reason for this. Months after the kidnapping, the ‘napper contacts Avinash and Abha with a starter-pack ransom kit and a montage of Siya being looked after and tended to in a cell. She’s alive and relatively well, all things considered, but her need for insulin injections makes for something of a ticking-clock device as Avinash is told that, in order to rescue her, he must murder random people guilty of committing some vaguely-defined sins. Avinash pretends this is going to be difficult for him for roughly half an episode before he sets about psychologically tormenting and ultimately violently killing his first victim, and it’s only downhill from there.
On the face of it, the underlying premise of Breathe: Into the Shadows isn’t bad, really, but it’s given such a ridiculous treatment that it’s impossible to take seriously in any way, least of all as a dramatic thriller about a family in the grip of turmoil. Characters on both sides of the moral transom are for the most part difficult to root for or outright irredeemable, and cloudy motivations keep any sense of relatability at arm’s length. The execution is amateurish, both visually and logically, with lazy writing expressing surface-level sentiments often several times over, just to get the point across. Things are said and indeed happen purely for the benefit of a suffering audience, who have twelve episodes of this nonsense to plow through.
That audience will be there, of course, thanks to the vague association with the previous season, and Amit Sadh’s returning Inspector Kabir Sawant making for a relegated but nonetheless direct connection. I can’t imagine anyone will be too glad of his presence in this torpid and braindead effort, mind, and one can’t help but feel that this new iteration of Breathe isn’t far in the shadows enough.
We are fast becoming the number one independent website for streaming coverage. Please support Ready Steady Cut today. Secure its future — we need you!
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.