The life of criminals is dreadful in reality and exciting on the screen. 

I am sure none of us would want to deliberately meet a criminal but we wouldn’t miss any chance of watching a movie based on their life.

Inspired by the life of despised drug lord, Griselda Blanco, Griselda is a new series, now streaming on Netflix. 

It is not a true crime show. Instead, Griselda is a fictionalized depiction of Blanco’s notorious journey. 

Here is my review of the series, which has six episodes with a total runtime of five and a half hours.

Griselda (2024) Synopsis

Griselda Blanco rises from nowhere to become the “Godmother” in the arena of drug trafficking.

Image Credits: Netflix

The fictionalized series looks at the Colombian drug mogul’s progression and downfall.

Directed by Andres Baiz, the show is created by Eric Newman, Carlo Bernard, and Ingrid Escajeda.

It stars Sofia Vergara (Griselda), Alberto Guerra (Dario), Juliana Aiden Martinez (June), Martin Rodriguez (Rivi), Vanessa Ferlito (Carmen), Jose Velazquez (Uber), Orlando Pineda (Dixon), Martin Fajardo (Ozzy), Camila Jimenez Varon (Rafa), Carter MacIntyre (Al), and others.

What Works for Griselda?

Real-life stories carry several risks. One of them is presenting the initial half an hour intriguingly. But maybe, the life of Griselda Blanco had enough to be perceived as fiction. 

It begins with the queenpin packing her bags and leaving Colombo for Miami with her three sons.

The dark hours of the night give the scene an added layer of allure.

Maybe, it was fictionalized, but the sequence had the hook to hold the audience’s attention. The curiosity a maker would want to generate in their viewers.

From there begins a transcendent ride of ups and downs. 

Once the well-paced storyline sets itself, Griselda’s tangible origins reap fruits. Even if 40% of the show is fictitious, the rest of the 60% leaves you awestruck. 

Image Credits: Netflix

The dramatic moments are decent but I most loved the emotional gray area Griselda explores. It doesn’t draw a line and keeps pushing ahead. 

A space in your heart wants to root for the protagonist while another expects her to face the consequences ASAP. 

The makers ensure to not whitewash Blanco’s life. They make you abhor her, hate her, and even feel repulsive about some of her actions. 

Moreover, the screenplay’s affair with violence and gore, complemented by the sheer audacity of unparalleled power, keeps bringing Griselda back into the game of perception. 

Whenever the drama starts getting heftier, visuals of carnage thwart it from becoming too overwhelming. 

The choice of songs works in the show’s favor as well, an area I have seen American creations shine. 

Furthermore, if you look at the series as a whole, reproducing a mighty life in just 6 episodes, it would be a gross injustice to not appreciate the efforts put into creating the America of the 1970s and 80s. 

To make the props believable, the looks discernible, and the atmosphere relatable are commendable aspects of Griselda. 

How are the Performances?

Sofia Vergara, in the titular role of the villainous criminal, justifies her participation in the show. 

She has a daunting presence with a layered demeanor that keeps adapting effortlessly. 

Her vicious yet occasionally affable act captures your supreme attention.

These kinds of roles are highly sensitive in nature. People are prepared with judgmental eyes to scan every nook and corner.

Image Credits: Netflix

However, Sofia Vergara’s nuanced performance is sure to win over the audience. 

Alberto Guerra plays Dario in Griselda. A level-headed individual, he escalates his impact with new elements in each episode. 

He brings an unflinching aura and embraces it with an emotionally inscrutable comportment.

Ironically, Guerra especially excels in scenes that challenge the sentimental or righteous side of the storyline.

Juliana Aiden Martinez is sagacious, both in terms of the character sketch and her onscreen portrayal of June. 

The actress brilliantly gives effect to a role that places itself in the ‘underdog’ category. She presents sharp, well-packaged expressions to stay in your good books as a gritty cop. 

Image Credits: Netflix

Martin Rodriguez evokes the right feelings. He takes on the job of Rivi in Griselda. 

From the observational expressions to the determined mien that can break gates, he wins you over despite very little screen time. 

Sometimes, small roles can make a big impact and Martin does the exact same.

But he is not alone, there are plenty of other actors in Griselda that complete the show and make it more coherent.

What Doesn’t Work for Griselda?

It is really tough to distinguish the blurry line between reality and fiction in the show. Still, some scenes give it away in the wider realm of made-up scenarios.

Moreover, Griselda is not entirely convincing. It does let the grip loose on some occasions, where the story just keeps running and you are not as interested in pursuing it before a particular point.

One thing that might not sit well with a lot of viewers is the language. Even though a US series, the majority of dialogues in Griselda are in Spanish.

For non-Spanish speakers, it is necessary to read the subtitles, which I hate to do, personally. Although this specific element makes the series authentic, it might just be a bit tardy to follow.

Image Credits: Netflix

It is obviously not a huge obstacle. Still, worth mentioning, I guess.

Furthermore, the show starts with a quote by Pablo Escobar. 

Ironically, there is no other mention of the man even though the two drug lords operated in the same era.

Also, I am not a fan of leaps within a story. So, when Griselda jumped from one phase to another, it forced me to think about whether two more episodes could have been added instead of the timeline shifts.

This would have allowed for a deeper exploration of Blanco’s world apart from just focusing on her barbarian, careless attitude.

Her real might never really comes to the fore. The story shows her as a ‘wavering’ queen who was never unflinching.

Stream or Skip?

By all means, you can stream Griselda. It deserves to be embraced by viewers on Netflix. Yes, there are issues, but they are not as potent to hinder your viewing experience as a whole.

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