Based on the novel of the same name by Roberto Saviano, ZeroZeroZero doesn’t exactly provide a fresh premise. Certainly, there is an immediate feeling that the influence of Ozark, Narcos, Breaking Bad and Sicario is present in the foundations of the story, risking overcrowding the genre even further. However, at the same time, this is a unique take on a cartel drama with exciting writing and original performances. Creator and director Stefano Sollima has an intelligent vision in a dark and threatening production that leaves the viewer uncomfortable yet impossibly glued to the screen.
Andrea Riseborough, Dane DeHaan and Gabriel Byrne make up the Lynwood family (Emma, Chris and Edward), who must navigate the increasing threat to their safety as they broker cocaine shipments between the Mexicans and Italians. The point of view shifts between the three parties elegantly, allowing for complex perspectives and individual understanding of the storyline. The entanglement of the buyers, sellers and brokers is gripping and fierce, seemingly resting on a knife’s edge.
Riseborough and DeHaan’s performances are equally captivating as the Lynwood siblings, but in polar-opposite ways: Emma exudes confidence and control, whilst Chris is clinging to some form of both as he grapples with Huntington’s disease. The cast delivers on all fronts and Harold Torres as well as Giuseppe De Domenico are particularly intimidating in their roles as Manuel Contreras and Stefano La Piana respectively.
The chilling score is perfect at instilling a sense of unease in the viewer and the integrity of the dialogue leaves little room for doubt as to the legitimacy of the show. The series is strong on all fronts in its early episodes, perhaps only slightly restricted by the intricacy of its non-linear narrative, which causes confusion for the audience. However, the authenticity of its plot, characters and development make ZeroZeroZero an early-2021 success.
ZeroZeroZero is released on Sky Atlantic on 4th February 2021.
Watch the trailer for ZeroZeroZero here: