Kaleidoscope is a generic heist story however an interesting experiment


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A photo of Peter Mark Kendall, Paz Vega, Jai Courtney, and Rosaline Elbay in the Netflix series Kaleidoscope.

On the floor, Kaleidoscope is an easy, albeit generic, heist story. It hits all the beats you’d anticipate: the revenge-filled backstory, the advanced technique of discovering a workforce and forming a plan, and the satisfaction of watching that plan unfold. And since Kaleidoscope’s story spans round 25 years, you get loads of all of these issues over the course of its eight episodes. However that’s not what makes the present fascinating. Kaleidoscope can be an interesting experiment, an try to inform the sort of drama most viewers are accustomed to — however designed so to watch episodes in any order. As a nonlinear story, it’s a hit — however as a enjoyable crime caper, Kaleidoscope leaves rather a lot to be desired.

The collection is centered on Leo (Giancarlo Esposito), a profession legal and the mastermind behind a plan to steal $7 billion in bonds from a seemingly impenetrable vault in New York. To try this, he assembles a seven-person workforce of specialists (that means the bounty splits into an excellent $1 billion every) to steal the cash as a part of a long-running revenge plot. As a result of the present covers such a big span of time, you get to see Leo and the remainder of the crew — which incorporates everybody from a hot-headed safecracker (Jai Courtney) to a chemist who likes to experiment with new concoctions (Rosaline Elbay) — at numerous factors of their lives.

A photo of Peter Mark Kendall, Paz Vega, Jai Courtney, and Rosaline Elbay in the Netflix series Kaleidoscope.

Peter Mark Kendall, Paz Vega, Jai Courtney, and Rosaline Elbay in Kaleidoscope.
Picture: Netflix

However the way you method that story is basically as much as you. There’s a selected episode you’re meant to observe because the finale, which covers the precise occasions of the heist. However the remainder of the episodes are supposed to be watched in any order. I began out chronologically, seeing Leo as an up-and-coming jewel thief and later, as he ages inside a jail. Then I selected to leap round a bit: I watched the prep for the heist, then the day after it passed off, and rounded it out with the day earlier than. Then I jumped into the finale.

The order you watch the episodes doesn’t change how the story performs out. There’s no interactive aspect right here. However the order does change the way you understand every episode. As a result of I began chronologically, I already understood the historical past between Leo and Roger (Rufus Sewell), the safety knowledgeable he’s attempting to rob; if I had watched it the opposite manner round, their backstory would have been a serious reveal. At the very least within the order I occurred to observe it in, the nonlinear construction labored fairly properly. The heist itself is the middle, with all the different tales orbiting round it, offering all the mandatory element so you possibly can perceive simply went down and why sure occasions are necessary.

The issue with Kaleidoscope isn’t the construction; it’s with the present itself. It’s very uneven. There are some enjoyable action-filled heist moments; the finale particularly is a spotlight. And I actually loved the ridiculously convoluted plan, which entails not solely unusual high-tech devices but additionally some low-tech options like precise bees (seeing how they get used may be my favourite half). However the storyline is filled with cliches to the purpose that not one of the massive reveals — at the least within the order I watched it in — felt like a lot of a shock. The forged does its greatest with the fabric in entrance of them, and the legal gang is usually an enthralling bunch, however they’re saddled with drab dialogue and, in some instances, a few of the worst de-aging make-up I can recall seeing. (It’s so unhealthy that the actors battle to emote with their faces.)

A photo of Giancarlo Esposito wearing a mask in the Netflix series Kaleidoscope.

Giancarlo Esposito (he’s behind the masks, I swear) in Kaleidoscope.
Picture: Netflix

There are different components that really feel not notably properly thought-out. As an example, every episode is called after a colour, and the story is expounded to that not directly. The “Violet” episode connects to a selected piece of bijou, whereas “Pink” pertains to a cherished childhood object. It’s a pleasant thought, however the connections between colour and theme usually really feel tenuous and unimportant. And on the technical facet, Netflix’s insistence on routinely enjoying the following episode was somewhat annoying once I was attempting to plot my very own specific journey by this story.

Whereas I want the present itself had been extra thrilling, Kaleidoscope does work as a proof of idea. And it’s particularly fascinating as Netflix continues to experiment with nonlinear and interactive storytelling, from the “select your individual journey” fashion of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch to live-action video video games like Immortality (which is accessible on cell completely by Netflix’s app). Kaleidoscope isn’t the way forward for TV — however it does trace at one path that future may go in.

Kaleidoscope is streaming on Netflix now.

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