HERE ARE THE LATEST REVIEW UPDATES OF GRISELDA SEASON 1
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Hollywood wants to act as though it is always evolving and that the days of Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi and blackface are long gone.
However, the casting of a white British actor by FX as a young Middle Eastern ruler in Tyrant, or Catherine Zeta-Jones as infamous Colombian drug kingpin Griselda Blanco in Lifetime’s Cocaine Godmother, are not that far from Zoe Saldaña as Nina Simone.
Griselda Blanco, who was by all accounts rather terrible at times, certainly earned the divine and legal consequences, but I think we can all agree that she did not deserve the completely bizarre accent and makeup that went along with Zeta-Jones’ depiction in Cocaine Godmother.
NETFLIX’S SIX-PART SERIES GRISELDA SERVES AS A SUFFICIENT CORRECTIVE REPRESENTATION
The latex makeup used on Colombian actress Sofía Vergara, who plays Blanco, makes her look more like “Not Sofía Vergara” than Griselda Blanco. With the exception of one, all four members of the creative team are former Narcos cast members: Doug Miro, Ingrid Escajeda, Carlo Bernard, and Eric Newman. The entire time, Colombian director Andrés Baiz was in charge of the camera. Griselda tells most of its story in Spanish.
Griselda does well in compensating for past and possibly even future portrayals of Blanco (a Jennifer Lopez film has been in discussion for a while), but it fails in overcompensation. Blanco’s potential intelligence and verifiable viciousness are all understood by the creators in a very formulaic way.
Furthermore, while Blanco is being transformed from a brave underdog to a tragic figure of Shakespearean depths, Griselda is beginning to become stylish and intriguing, if not entirely convincing, and ending up absurd, if not entirely convincing.
According to the writers’ version of events, Griselda begins in 1978 when Morally Concerned, Too Young to Understand, and Who?, Blanco’s three kids, are on their way from Medellín to Miami, where they arrive with nothing but a dream and a kilogramme of cocaine.
ACCORDING TO THIS VERSION,
Griselda is a poor woman without resources, but she has a brilliant idea: cocaine might be fun for white people too!
Big cocaine oaks sprout from little cocaine acorns, and over a few hurriedly elapsed years, that one kilogramme had spread into an entire empire. But taking over the drug trade in a major city doesn’t come without stepping on some toes, and soon Griselda will be facing off against a number of tiny kingpins, irascible cartel bosses, and a task force of law enforcement that includes June Hawkins (Juliana Aidén Martinez), an underappreciated Miami cop and fellow single mother.
Repress your shock as you learn that Griselda loses her soul in the process of acquiring the world, the violence increases, and her family the ones she purportedly did all of this for are in danger.
To be clear, Griselda does not try to write Griselda Blanco’s story in a heroic light, yet it nevertheless canonises her. According to the plot, Griselda was a driven individual who overcame institutional discrimination to become a trailblazer; it would be as though Brie Larson’s character from skills in Chemistry had applied those skills to become Walter White rather than Julia Child. A putty nose remains after many sharp edges have been smoothed down.
Griselda is constantly selecting a semi-factual course that follows an underdog trip with the least amount of difficulty. This begins at the outset because the already unstable rise-and-fall arc would collapse if Griselda revealed that its protagonist had previously operated a significant narcotics enterprise out of New York City before moving to Miami.
Regardless of how false it is, Griselda can’t, in a hubristic and literal sense, become high on her own supply if her fictionalised path doesn’t begin low.
THE SUPPORTING CAST IS ALMOST ENTIRELY ONE-NOTE CHARACTERS
who are notable for being either likeable allies (Martin Rodriguez’s Rivi, who becomes Griselda’s peyote-taking top enforcer, comes closest to fully dimensional) or desperately killable chauvinists (Maximiliano Hernández’s Papo is easily the most misogynistic and therefore the most in need of killing). The show is a repetitive run of “There’s no way Griselda can come back from this” moments that illustrate her moral decline, but only in broad strokes.
June, who is portrayed as Griselda’s most credible adversary, lacks any human characteristics except from the challenges she encounters in her quest to overthrow the Godmother. After Griselda, there is a large group of people waiting to watch news broadcasts on what Griselda will do next while lounging on couches.
Even if Griselda’s acting gets progressively worse, Vergara manages to make it entertaining. As the most dedicated cast member of Modern Family, Vergara deserves all the credit for revealing a whole new range of serious skills. She constantly transformed Gloria from a walking cliche to a complex joke machine, all without ever winning an Emmy.
She never quite makes Griselda as terrifying as the real woman was Pablo Escobar’s opening remark that he was afraid of her makes it especially strange that Escobar isn’t utilised as even a supporting role but she manages to uncover Griselda’s fears and her intelligence even beneath the layers of makeup.
The creative team’s Narcos expertise prepares you for the highs and lows of Griselda Blanco, if you’re okay with a generally hagiographic approach to the character. After all, several generations of hip-hop musicians have placed her in a namecheck pantheon among the likes of Escobar and Frank White.
It features the same delirious enthusiasm for vintage style and soundtracks; the same fondness for excessive violence and extended tracking shots of bustling nightclubs, reminiscent of Goodfellas; and the same difficulties striking the right balance between a cat-and-mouse plot involving likeable antagonists and uninteresting law enforcement officers. There is still, somewhere, a definitive Griselda Blanco biopic, but this one is better than some.
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