Feedback Season 1 Review – Gripping Polish thriller explores alcoholism and memory

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: November 15, 2023
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Feedback Season 1 Review - Gripping Polish thriller explores alcoholism and memory
Feedback Season 1 | Image via Netflix


Feedback Season 1 turns the usual thriller format on its head for a close-up and sometimes wincingly harsh exploration of alcoholism.

The morning after the night before. We’ve all been there, trying to put the pieces together after a heavy night on the booze. What did you say? What did you do? We’ve all winced at the nonsensical text messages sent to exes, at the bank statements reeling off every round of drinks and greasy late-night meal. Feedback, a Polish Netflix limited series, is this kind of morning spread across five episodes and masquerading as a thriller.

I don’t say “masquerading” as a criticism. Nominally, the show is about a failed rock musician and recovering alcoholic trying to find his missing son. This insular computer whizz may or may not be involved in a wider conspiracy. But the plot is just set dressing for a character study of a man who can’t recall not having a morning like the one described above.

Feedback Season 1 review and plot summary

Marcin Kania (Arkadiusz Jakubik, recognizable from The Woods, also on Netflix) is a formerly notorious rockstar who is presently in recovery for alcoholism – and not doing especially well at it. He has long since destroyed his relationships with his ex and his children, and is struggling to open up to a support group of like-minded addicts who are all much further down the path of recovery than he is.

When Marcin’s son, Piotr, goes missing, he is the last person to have seen or spoken to him. The trouble is, he was drunk at the time. Now, his hazy recollections are the key to unlocking what might have happened, if only he can stay sober for long enough to follow one clue to the next.

Helping Marcin, albeit reluctantly, is a police detective named Cezary whom Marcin knows from the support group. Whatever Piotr was up to, it seemed to involve some shady and powerful people.

While Feedback unfolds like a traditional whodunit, it isn’t one. Marcin’s inner monologue, describing his relationship with alcohol and his never-ending battle against his addiction, consistently frames the events as either a consequence of that addiction or a rung on the ladder of his recovery. Even through the various twists and turns of Piotr’s disappearance, Feedback never stops being about Marcin.

And Jakubik is more than up to the task. His performance is extraordinary, and while it won’t win anything, it’s richly deserving of an award of some kind for the wildly different modes he’s able to operate it and the depth of emotion he’s able to convey. You root for him because he has the right intentions, but he’s also deeply unpleasant. Feedback deserves credit for being a show that a) doesn’t subscribe to the childish notion that all protagonists must be “likable” and b) isn’t afraid to brutally double down on who Marcin is.

And it benefits from only spanning five episodes, each of them under an hour. The actual mystery, when you think about it, isn’t especially interesting or novel, but the exploration of alcoholism elevates it, and a wincingly nasty ending is a just reward for those who stick with it to the end.

A novel take on a familiar format

Feedback is a thriller you shouldn’t overlook thanks to its specific perspective and brazen approach to character. Sure, the underlying mystery isn’t all that mysterious, but it’s a riveting five hours nonetheless, thanks in large part to a very noteworthy leading performance that is worth a look simply on its own terms.

At a mere five episodes, this isn’t a substantial demand on your time, and the return will more than justify the investment. Do keep in mind, though, that its frank depiction of alcoholism will be a little too close to the knuckle for many, and viewer discretion is advised.

What did you think of Feedback Season 1? Comment below.

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Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Reviews
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