Barrio reviews Netflix drama, Griselda

A quote from Pablo Escobar shows up on the screen: “The only man I was ever afraid of was a woman named Griselda Blanco.” So, why not tell her story? The team behind Narcos, including writer Doug Miro, producer Eric Newman, and director Andrés Baiz, who previously told Escobar’s story, has taken the opportunity to create a new six-part Netflix miniseries called Griselda. Sofía Vergara stars as Griselda Blanco, a feared drug lord known as the Cocaine Godmother.

In the series, the narrative takes some liberties with Griselda’s real-life story. It begins in 1978 as she flees her drug-dealing husband in Medellín, Colombia, with her three sons, moving to Miami, Florida. Griselda takes a job at a travel agency with the condition that she leaves her involvement with the drug cartel behind. However, tempted by the prospect of more money, she carries a kilo of cocaine with her.

While the show deviates from the actual events, it captivates the audience. Unlike the grim and gritty feel of Narcos, Griselda adopts a stylized pulp semi-fiction approach with a touch of flashiness. Despite the intense and destructive events portrayed, it becomes a thrilling and enjoyable experience.

In the early episodes, the series explores the challenges Griselda faces as a woman in a male-dominated drug trade. There’s a subtle sense of sisterhood among the women she brings over from Medellín. Vergara delivers a powerful performance, depicting the survival instinct honed through brutal experiences and the transformation of latent violent tendencies into ruthlessness.

The series also highlights the pervasive sexism of the time, both in the workplace and law enforcement. However, as the story progresses, it leans more towards showcasing the extreme horrors unleashed by Griselda in her quest for power and empire expansion, falling short of presenting something truly unique or profound.

Despite not fully delivering on its initial promise, Griselda remains highly enjoyable, well-paced, and visually stunning. The performances are strong, especially showcasing Vergara’s talent. It serves as a reminder of the biases and expectations in casting, challenging stereotypes, even if it involves a lot of ruined bras and bloody confrontations.

Griselda out today on Netflix

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