Survival stories sometimes turn out to be the most heartbreaking ones. The first of such tales I watched was the iconic Cast Away starring Tom Hanks. Since then, there’s a certain definition of how movies or shows falling in that category should be.
Recently, Netflix came up with another gritty survival drama, Keep Breathing. It is a limited series streaming on the platform. Though it’s tough for me to not compare it with Cast Away, please forgive me if I do in the following review.
Keep Breathing Review Summary
Despite having a winning concept, the makers of Keep Breathing invest too much in bringing freshness to the screen. Eventually, they end up catering to a niche audience with an unsparing infusion of creative freedom.
Keep Breathing Synopsis
After her official flight for Inuvik is canceled, Liv Rivera, a lawyer from New York, accompanies two strangers in a private plane. But little did she know a disaster was incoming. Keep Breathing is a dark and emotional survival thriller streaming on Netflix.
Directed by Rebecca Rodriguez and Maggie Kiley, Keep Breathing stars Melissa Barrera (Liv), Jeff Wilbusch (Danny), and Florencia Lozano in lead roles.
What Works for Keep Breathing?
Being true to its genre, Keep Breathing has an ominous narration, helped by flashbacks from the past. The show succeeds in creating a tense surrounding that wallops you during crucial moments. Tragic stories need powerful emotions and, at the same time, they must shake the viewer from within.
Though I am not sure to what extent you would feel emotionally connected to the protagonist, I also cannot deny some sort of relatability.
The show is led by Melissa Barrera, playing Liv on-screen. Her role is such that she had to single-handedly carry the whole series on her shoulders. Though it seems only next to impossible for a show spanning six episodes, Melissa surprises you with the distinct layers she brings along.
After watching Keep Breathing, I cannot call her acting style to be limited to a specific niche. Barrera’s versatility is what makes her competent and unique in the list of performers. Her expressions, intonations, countenance, etc., perfectly suit the show’s theme.
Jeff Wilbusch as Danny doesn’t have a significant screen presence simply because of the storyline. However, he excels in the role he is given. His character’s simplicity, charm, and sweetness leave a mark on the audience’s hearts.
Everybody else in the show is at par with what they set out to achieve. But it must be said that Melissa Barrera’s performance trumps all.
What Doesn’t Work for Keep Breathing?
Excessive Creative Freedom
Keep Breathing is too ambitious for a thin plot. I didn’t find the story sturdy or deep enough to be infused with the kind of material they have put inside. A lot simpler execution would have made things better.
It is understandable for a writer to plan the story keeping every little aspect in mind. However, when you set out to garner an audience, it might leave confusing emotions in their mind. I don’t think any creator wishes the viewer to crawl through google for an explanation of what happened in the end.
That’s why Cast Away was a gem. It had the concept and the idea to make a successful survival drama. From remorse to pity, the film extracted every emotion from the audience. Keep Breathing mixes too many elements together.
A bad childhood and an overthinking personality eventually resulting in trust issues. I am not opposed to the idea of having these things in the story; it is the over-infusion that hurts me.
Keep Breathing will be watched by many but will it be remembered for a long time? I doubt.
What I found lacking in Keep Breathing’s story was the dearth of agonizing emotions that could hold the viewer. The makers should have tried grabbing more emotional investment since the relatability factor was not that high.
Since I didn’t read anywhere of Keep Breathing being inspired by a true story, it is hard to accept in its current form.
Keep Breathing is, simply put, not for everyone. It caters to a niche audience that can tolerate high levels of creative freedom.