CRITICS The Messiah

Oct 20, 2023 | Series Reviews

Cult series have become a genre unto themselves. At least a dozen fiction and documentary series have taken over the platforms in the last decade. It is a phenomenon very parallel to true crime, with whom it shares an unpredictable development of the story, shocking twists and a claustrophobic atmosphere. Logically, in this plot of entertainment there is everything, but there are titles of such quality as the docuseries El Palmar de Troya (Movistar, 2020), Wild Wild Country (Netflix, 2018), Heaven's Gate: the Cult of Cults (HBO, 2020) or fictions such as The Leftovers (HBO, 2014-2017), Top of the Lake (Play, 2013).
La Mesías arrives at Movistar after a triumphant stroll through the Official Selection of the last San Sebastian Festival. More than one has even considered it to be the best Spanish series of the year. The directors are Los Javis (Javier Ambrossi and Javier Calvo), creators of the sensational Paquita Salas, in my opinion one of the funniest characters ever created inside and outside our country. They have also directed the award-winning series about La Veneno, and the movie La Llamada, which has a certain connection with La Mesías as it deals with two rebellious teenagers in a Catholic camp who receive the "apparition" of a God of "brilli brilli" who sings Whitney Houston songs to them.
The Messiah is several series in one, with jumps in time that show the decline of a mother who has also received a peculiar "call" from heaven. After a life of excess and prostitution, she decides to marry a devout man with whom she forms a large family that will become a Christian rock band that will convert the world with their songs before God and "his aliens" come and end the planet. Once again, we must recognize that this duo of young directors and screenwriters have the imagination to create stories in which almost anything can fit. On this occasion, they themselves have stated that the story is inspired by the band Flos Mariae, a Christian group that emerged in 2014 in Barcelona. The Javis have stated that from this premise they have given free rein to their creativity with a much more daring and tremendist story.
It is evident that these directors have a real fascination for this Almodovarian and tragicomic vision of the Catholic religion, in which the parody is constant, in spite of having a point of respect that is not present in the director from La Mancha. However, the cocktail does not quite work because it is hard to believe the family's following of an exaggeratedly crazy mother for so many years. Lola Dueñas is a fantastic actress, but her forty-something mother and Messiah is so shrill and tremendous that it makes the fiction too implausible and grotesque. This character, in her maturity played by Carmen Machi, is suitably nuanced, but it is too late. The dramatic plot has been blown up for too many chapters, and the alliance of civilizations with which it is intended to reach a religious climax is too artificial.
In the more than seven hours of the series there are many musical hits, very common in these directors also presenters and teachers of Operación Triunfo, which are undoubtedly the best of the series, along with the choral performance of an endless cast. In the soundtrack there are songs by Cecilia, Rocío Dúrcal, the religious experience of Enrique Iglesias, the main themes of Cantando bajo la lluvia, and even contributions from Nana Mouskori, Pink Floyd, Bon Jovi or The Comunards. This repertoire is completed by the young singer Amaia Romero, who emerged from OT, who here plays her first dramatic role with an enviable naturalness.
Claudio Sanchez

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