Stream or skip? +2023

In the limited series with six episodes dead end (Netflix) A widowed father and his rebellious teenage daughter fall backwards into a gun and a sack containing two million stolen zlotys when they accidentally switch vehicles with a bank robber while using a ridesharing app. Can this quarreling father and daughter and their unlikely rental car companions get one step ahead of the thief, who, along with losing his misunderstood loot, has a few problems of his own?


opening shot: A nervous guy is standing in front of a bank clerk with a thick scarf around his face. As for improvised face coverings, she’s not very convincing. “It’s… a robbery,” he manages to croak at the bank clerk. “I don’t understand. You have to say something, dear.” Only then does the guy lower his scarf and pull out a pistol.

The essentials: Spoiler alert: Emil (Lukasz Garlicki) robs this bank despite his apparent hesitation. But before we can learn anything about why that might be, dead end Introduces us to Leon (Juliusz Chrzastowski), who struggles with alcohol and has just lost his job. It’s been tough since his wife died and Dianka’s behavior doesn’t make life any easier. Regardless of the parole officer sitting at her apartment, Leon’s daughter comes home from high school with a few well-chosen words for her biology teacher — “I told this Biznatch why the hell do I need to know that some myoglobin…” — but Leon is not it. I do not have it. He is frustrated by Dianka, but also worried: the state could take her away from him. It’s time to do something rash. You are going to the Czech Republic.

He calls himself “Roberto” to the woman on the phone, but even from behind you can see that this guy is no Italian womanizer. Instead, Wojtek (Michal Sikorski) is a faltering young lad who puts himself in a position to deal with the online match and travels to meet him IRL. “Is that the trip to Cieszyn? I’m your passenger, Wojtek.” Leon rented the back seat of his Audi via an app – after all, every euro counts. And here’s Leon and Dianka’s other ride, a woman named Klara (Anna Ilczuk) who just broke up with another wealthy friend. Her sister in Cieszyn will take Klara in.

With Dianka annoying Leon and constantly examining Wojtek and Klara, no one feels comfortable in this battered Audi sedan. And when they pull up at a gas station, a tangle of jostling and similar vehicles causes the ride-along to suddenly get into Emil’s Audi, complete with pistol and bank-robbery Boodle. “Oh shit!” Says Dianka. “That’s not our car.” But her expression doesn’t betray any concern. This is the most exciting thing that has happened to her in months.

Photo: Netflix

What shows will it remind you of? dead end shares his view of cash-strapped strangers who are suddenly thrown into a slightly bizarre new opportunity kill it, the funny Peacock series starring Craig Robinson who enters a snake catching competition in Florida. And given the secrets everyone keeps in Leon’s Audi, it’s worth noting the fantastic Netflix comedy dead to me here. That’s right, isn’t it dead end but dead to mewhere Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini are unlikely friends who are drawn together by personal tragedy and versions of honesty.

Our opinion: With its flat color palette and cloudy outlook – not to mention its English-language title – dead end is not here to solve his characters’ respective problems. There is humor in Leon and Dianka’s relationship, but it mostly comes from her incessant emotional torment of her father. Yes, he struggles with alcohol. And yes, he pawned Dianka’s school laptop. But neither of them is ready to deal with the real pain in their lives, which is the deaths of their wife and their mother. In a short phone call, her sister offers a pathetic overview of Klara’s last separation. “I thought this time it would work out.” And for Wojtek, who falsely presents himself as some kind of Lothario on dating sites, his reckless behavior is mostly a reaction to his controlling mother. Not even Emil is safe from an essay about his life choices. The only reason he broke the bank was because he’s eyeballs in debt.

What is most interesting about dead end So these personal motivations play into the group dynamics that were so cleverly established so early on. All these people could really use the money. But who among them wants to overlook the fact that it’s already been stolen and that finders definitely don’t equal keeper? With themes of greed, regret, selfishness, shame and outright opportunism in the shadowy fringes of dead end, it’s worth considering how this whole thing could culminate in a Tarantino-style Mexican standoff or some other payoff that’s at least as gory as it is darkly comedic, especially with a pistol hogging so much suspense that everyone who understands the other’s respective predicaments. This weapon could solve everything or make everything worse. But he doesn’t just sit idly in the glove compartment of an Audi.

gender and skin: Nothing in the first episode anyway.

farewell shot: The bank robber calls Dianka’s phone, and Leon has shown his passengers the bag of money and the gun. Will they meet with the thief? Call the police? At that moment, the woman who was watching them from the forest approaches. “The good news is that we’re the ones with the gun,” says Celina (Jasmina Polak).

sleeping star: As Dianka, Maja Wolska has the best time in dead end, at least in the beginning. From the second we meet Dianka and casually fire her parole officer, Wolska makes her a complete character, with mischievousness and cheeky youthful indifference hastily spreading across the unresolved grief that follows her mother’s death.

Most pilot line: “I told you to be careful who you get in the car with. If you keep quiet and do what you’re told, you might survive.” Dianka can barely contain her sarcasm as she says all this to Klara and Wojtek, who are already nervous; she can’t help it either and keeps pushing the bit. “Our previous passengers didn’t know that the car swap was just fake.”

Our appeal: Stream it. It’s a fascinating group of disparate personalities who dead end has gathered for this ride where everyone sees the windfall as the key to their personal escape plans, even if it’s already been stolen. But something sinister is at work here, too. If a Czech weapon has already been introduced…

Johnny Loftus is an independent writer and editor living at large in Chicagoland. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, All Music Guide, Pitchfork Media and Nicki Swift. Follow him on Twitter: @Glenganges

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