Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Engrenages - Spiral

Engrenages is a French TV serial. I just watched the first season (2006), which had 8 episodes.

Obviously, it was my interest in Nordic Noir, which led me to Engrenages. It had got excellent reviews from European critics.

Frankly, Engrenages did not look very interesting in the beginning. I really started thinking, ok the French are masters of cinema, but may be not for TV thrillers. Now, that I have got this bad habit of comparing every crime story to the Danish or Scandinavian standards, I argued with Corinne that Engrenages is not really top class. She too agreed.

But then, slowly, by the 4th episode, I realised something. Even with the Danish crime stories, the whole investigation is just after that major crime. If something else happens, they are all some how connected to the initial crime. The excellent Rejseholdet too, which is based on true crime stories, this was the pattern.

Would it be like that in a real life Police department? This is what makes Engrenages different and incredible.

There is the original crime, which is being investigated. But this doesn't mean other crimes dont happen, right?, so, the same officers also have to take care of other matters around them. There is a murder, which is giving head ache to the investigating team, but they are also stressed out by other crimes, another murder by young drug traffickers, a mother under suspicion for killing her baby, a father accused of raping his daughters and so on.

Sure did it take some time for my tube light to get into the same wave length. But therein, everything looked absolutely different.

When you think about it, Engrenages should be the closest to reality of how the justice system work.  It is brilliant, to be frank. Crime CID's, Judges, Forensic doctors, Public prosecutors, Perpetrators, victims and witnesses and media (interestingly, media presence is very limited), a whole web of people around crime. None of these characters are black or white. All are normal people with lots of grey matter. Like the Nordic stories, it too goes into the private lives of some of them.

At one point, I even thought, the serial might end stating that the whole system is corrupt. But no, it is not about that. It does say, there is grey every where. But it also tell us how law is helpless sometimes. How the insistence on solid proof prevents the law keepers from ensuring justice. Law may not be absolute.

Engrenages should change our view of how crime stories are told.

If you try to watch, allow some time, please. Inspite of bits of knowledge about the French, it was slow for me. Also, please keep in mind that the French justice system is quite different from ours or the US. So we might find certain aspects strange.