Ein man falls in the hail of bullets. Slowly he goes to the ground, the slow motion stretches the moment into elegance, so that his off-screen voice can ask with almost transcendental calm: What will become of the one who has nothing more to give? Who loses respect for others? Because it has become useless for them?
According to the law of the mafia, he is ready for shooting. The American shipping company Edward Lynwood, whom Gabriel Byrne embodies with melancholy hardness, knows this too. Not only is Lynwood himself in free fall, but also his family business based in New Orleans, if it is a high-risk, but also highly profitable
The transaction fails: the corporate patriarch from Monterrey in Mexico wants to create a container full of canned goods with cocaine hidden under peppers at the Italian seaport Gioia Tauro.
It transports the material, which is traded more expensive than any other and in whose trading capitalism takes its bloodiest form. As an intermediary between a Mexican drug cartel and its customers, a Calabrian ’ndrangheta clan, Lynwood, like everyone else, is concerned with life or death, gigantic sums of money and the power to stay in control, or brutal annihilation and a cruel end. Who wants their bodies to be thrown to the pigs?
“ZeroZeroZero”, the opulent serial adaptation of Roberto Saviano’s research book of the same name, on the network of the international cocaine trade, also shows such things. The director Stefano Sollima, who has already directed Saviano’s “Gomorrha” as a television series spanning several seasons, is now responsible, supported by Leonardo Fasoli and Mauricio Katz. The will to land the next big thing in cinematic research into organized crime is evident in this co-production by Sky Studios, Bartleby Films and Cattleya, which is distributed by the French Canal + and is shown elsewhere on Amazon Prime, on our Sky Atlantic.
The claim to take an equal look at the cornerstones of the economic triangle of sellers, buyers and dealers seems almost immoderate. We follow the business of the Narcos brothers Enrique and Jacinto Leyra (Flavio Medina and Víctor Huggo Martín) and the combat operations of a – corrupt – military special unit in Mexico. We see an aged boss of the ’ndrangheta (Adriano Chiaramida) in the mountains of Calabria rising from his hole in the ground, where he is hiding away, and the in omertà united faithful flock. With five thousand kilos of cocaine from the New World, the old man wants to consolidate his rule, which his grandson Stefano undermines with increasing unscrupulousness. And then there are the Lynwoods, a triumvirate shattered by family psychology, consisting of Edward, his daughter and right hand Emma (Andrea Riseborough) and the initially seemingly useless son Chris (Dane DeHaan), who is just waiting for the HD Illness becomes manifest in him and he gets the Veitstanz.
“ZeroZeroZero” continues “Gomorrha” and follows the tradition of the mafia films, including homage to Mary’s processions, cold-blooded murders on country roads and power struggles within the clan. The eight-part also wants to incorporate what “Narcos”, the series epic about Colombian drug cartels, has cultivated, borrows from “Breaking Bad” and the classic “Traffic”. There is also a bulky American family drama.
The most avant-garde about “ZeroZeroZero” is the multi-perspective approach, the elaborate, multilingual back and forth between continents and criminal units involved in their own wars. The price that the series pays for this is nevertheless high: until the viewer feels a sense of dramaturgical unity, until lines of action have crossed often enough that a network becomes visible, he has to be very patient. Many characters remain so sketchy that their fate is unimportant. And you have to be willing to endure some clichés. Even the greatest cinematographic force (camera Paolo Carnera and Romain Lacourbas) cannot hide the fact that car chases with shootings through a market full of colorfully covered stands or mafiosi in foggy Karst landscapes no longer tear anyone off their chairs and the slow-motion sequences used as a means of reflection are sometimes bad to appear mannered.
The most interesting, because most surprising, part story of “ZeroZeroZero” is the development of the Lynwood saga, in the center of which is the reach of a young woman for power. Emma, played by Andrea Riseborough with an appearance somewhere between Tilda Swinton and Alba Rohrwacher, stands in an urgency for the generation change, as her Italian counterpart Giuseppe De Domenico as an aspiring mafioso Stefano does not succeed. And Dane DeHaan as Chris Lynwood grows from episode to episode in his role – how “ZeroZeroZero” increases until the massive finale. Incidentally, the title refers to quality levels of cocaine, which are given in zeros. Sollima’s series may not be the purest material on the television market, but it is a blend of well above average quality.
ZeroZeroZeroat 8:15 p.m. on Sky Atlantic HD.