Friday, 23 September 2016

Review: EASY

The latest Netflix original series Easy is a refreshing take on modern relationships, life and the human condition. Featuring a cast of familiar actors, such as Michael Chernus (that guy who plays Piper’s brother from OITNB), Dave Franco and Orlando Bloom to name a few. Written and directed by Joe Swanberg.

Each episode is a snippet of the lives of these characters who live in Chicago, mostly focusing on an individual or a couple’s relationships. Naturally we see a range of ups and downs between the characters and themselves as they live their lives, whether they’re a married couple with children, single or dating, they all share one thing in common: they’re people dealing with what life throws at them.

There’s an honesty with all the characters as you get personal with them throughout their episodes, so you gradually pick up on what values and morals they hold. You get to know them very quickly in such a short space of time with each episode being no longer than 30 minutes and even though their situations might not be your own, you feel that you can relate to them regardless.

One episode that stood out to me features a middle-aged graphic novelist, who writes from his own experiences and meets a photography student who gives him a taste of his own medicine. This explores a notion I’ve always thought about when writing something auto-biographical; how would others feel about it, starring in a published story of your life depicted in ways they may not want. You can also relate to some of the frustrations of the character throughout the episode as he tries to deal with the modern world that he feels somewhat excluded in. Suitably it features a cameo of cartoonist Chris Ware at the end of the episode.

Two of the episodes cover two brothers who reconnect over a love of brewing beer. One brother becomes reinvigorated as it breaks the mold of his routine and the other is edging him on, encouraging him to enjoy life, telling him his own unhappiness is his own doing. Out of the series, these two episodes hold the most substance and it perfectly ties up the end of the series as we see how these brothers almost switch places in life.

Easy feels like a very believable take on real people, it could almost be a fly on the wall documentary. Thankfully it isn’t and it’s been produced with finesse. There’s a number intimate scenes possibly bordering on gratuitous on opinion but it’s all in context. We see a very intimate perspective of the characters with no distractions, conversations look and feel real as there’s often very little use of non-diegetic music. Although when it is used it’s adding to the scenes, giving a slight stray away from reality into fantasy, adding some comedy into the drama, but at the same time it feels very natural.

I could see Easy coming back for a second season, it could return to some of the key characters such as the two brothers but at the same time each character’s story was set out and tied up by the end of each episode. You feel satisfied that you can predict what kind of life they’ll live in the afterlife of their spotlight. It’s early days yet but I would see it would work best with a new set of characters, possibly still in Chicago with some tie ins with the established characters or it could even work in a new location entirely as it’s not about the location, it’s about life and relationships.

Easy is insightful, relatable and another refreshing and original Netflix series.

All 8 episodes are available to watch as from the 22nd September 2016, and it’s definitely one of the Netflix Originals that you can watch all in one sitting.