Imagine a writers’ room brainstorming ideas for a complex 12-episode series. Abhishek Bachchan enters the digital world with the mindless binge-watching Amazon Prime series.
They are circling a script like a gang of witches on a full-moon night, adding everything they deem necessary for a “nailing-biting” thriller to a boiling pot, including ceramic masks, bunkers, kidnappings, torture, blackmail, media frenzy, brooding cops, sidekick police officers, mind games, morality, mythology, phobias, psychiatrists, prostitutes, lesbians, night Twelve 45-minute episodes are still insufficient, so they increase the sections, stretch, twist, and add some absurd reasoning.In the end, you are served Breathe: Into The Shadows, a completely childish programme that tries valiantly to be intelligent and suspenseful while rapping on the doors of every famous thriller to scrounge up components that might have worked in the past.
Synthetic by design and created with the intent to cause adrenaline rush
One could argue that thrillers are artificial by their very nature. They are intended to cause an adrenaline rush. But the second season of the spooky anachronism Breathe: Into The Shadows, starring Abhishek Bachchan, Nithya Menen, Amit Sadh, and Saiyami Kher, tries to be both.
The main emphasis of the narrative is the abduction of a six-year-old single child of a psychiatrist and a chef, although it’s very difficult to feel sympathy for the parents. Similar to soap operas, the programme features an assortment of plot twists and simple cliffhangers. Though you are not emotionally invested in the lives of these characters, you keep watching because you are curious about what will happen next.
Breathe: Into The Shadows is, like other streaming shows, a prime example of binge-watching entertainment that has taken over streaming services. Even though there is a tonne of dramatisation and sentimentality, one is rarely permitted to connect emotionally with the characters.
The continual revelations, action, and reaction obscure the actors. Bachchan’s entry into the digital world is the series, and he is handed (at least on paper) an admirable role. However, his natural expression is one of stoicism, leaving you to question if he’s acting or merely taking a nap. Sadh is constantly brooding, and Menen’s default mode is one of worry.
Body language is stiff and unimaginative.
To make up for the flatness of the actors and characters, the creators had to use a variety of audiovisual devices. The series has a smoky, grey tint that seems to be the standard look for thrillers on streaming platforms. Other than fabricated suspense, the show has nothing really eye-catching. Even the killings’ grisly accoutrements and body language are clichéd and unoriginal. When the characters repeatedly emphasise how horrifying the murders are, their desperate attempt to be unusual is obvious. You do not need to keep telling if you demonstrate.
The order of events is designed to confuse you, yet when a pattern does start to emerge, the series loses its complexity. Although the narrative is straightforward, the visual tone and performance make it appear as though we are watching something intricate. The solutions are overly simple and simplistic. There are clear-cut, almost dictatorial explanations for what could otherwise have remained unanswered concerns about the human psyche. The best psychological thrillers make you wonder about the everyday, but Breathe: Into The Shadows reduces even the most complicated events to the level of the banal and absurd.
You expend almost ten hours of your life yearning to know what happens next, recall almost little of the experience, and depart with little lasting impression, thought, or rumination. You have only passed the time during a pandemic.
Amazon Prime Video presently has Breathe: Into the Shadows available for viewing.