In the last few years, Netflix has developed into an international empire, leading the way for other streaming services such as Hulu and HBO. Now, movies and shows created in and for a specific group of people have the ability to be shown to a much larger market. Because of this emphasis on global entertainment, I was exposed to the hit drama series titled Money Heist or, in its original language (Spanish), La Casa de Papel.
The thriller follows nine criminals throughout the planning and execution of “the largest money heist in history”. Led by the mastermind, “The Professor”, the robbers break into the Royal Mint of Spain with the plan to print millions of Euros, while also keeping upwards of 50 civilians and workers hostage.
The show has created a lot of buzz and was recently declared as Netflix’s most watched non-English-language series.
Unlike most shows I have binged (and became obsessed with), I experienced this show in a much different way. In fact, I have never watched any shows not originally created and produced in an English-speaking country. So, the original dialogue is in Spanish, but Netflix provides English dubbing and subtitles. In addition to English, the show has also been translated into Italian, German, and French. So, the show is very accessible to foreign language speakers, although I felt kind of thrown off at first as the actors’ lips do not match up with the words (per the English dubbing). This was easy for me to look past, though, and soon did not bother me at all. I chose to watch the version that had been dubbed, instead of watching it in Spanish and using English subtitles. Many viewers have disagreed with experiencing the show in this way and urge viewers to watch the show in its original language accompanied by subtitles. They claim that watching Money Heist in Spanish shows the characters in a more authentic and relatable way. Nonetheless, I thought I was still able to understand and connect with the characters despite the use of English dubbing. No matter how you choose to watch the series, the suspenseful plot will pull you into the show.
Lately, it has been very common for Netflix to have drama/thrillers on the site for people to watch and enjoy. So, what makes Money Heist so different and worth the watch?
For me, it was many things, including the twisted and exhilarating plot. But mostly because it exposed me to something I have never thought about before. The show provided me with a new perspective because I was consuming entertainment centered on Spanish characters. These characters emulated different values, ideas, and culture than those usually seen in American entertainment. It was interesting to see an aspect of foreign ideals through the universal entertainment of television.
The show is a must-watch for another unique reason. Throughout the progression of the series, I could never decide which side (the robbers or the police) to root for. This is because characters on both of the the opposing sides are central and important parts of the show. You learn about, and thus sympathize, with the criminals and the cops. So, as the robbers get closer to achieving their goal of getting away with the largest money heist in history, I found myself hoping they would be successful. At the same time, the show would transition to the police as they attempted to get one step ahead of the heist. Again, as I watched them struggle and learned more about the head officer on the case, Raquel Murillo, I started rooting for them to outsmart the robbers and end the heist.
Furthermore, the hostages also play an important role in the plot of the show. Some of them are very likable, while others are actually dislikable. This was strange for me because the hostages are victims and I would usually always be rooting for them. Although I adamantly wanted them to escape, there were a few hostages that were rude and mean, which made me dislike them.
Money Heist plays with the viewer’s emotions and leaves them conflicted at the end of the second season (but, rumors have started that a third season might have been picked up by Netflix). Not only was I exposed to a Spanish written and produced show, but I got to experience the multi-faceted aspects of human life through the relatability of the characters.
If you like high-stake dramas and/or thrillers, I would highly recommend you give Money Heist a shot.