‘La Mantis’ is an effective psychopathic miniseries with a wonderful Carole Bouquet
Netflix is far from being a perfect company, but something is undoubtedly its good eye to try to make the most of what works well. Very recently we have the case of ‘Mindhunter’, a bombshell that made the company speak for several weeks. One of his ways of taking advantage of it has been to include in his catalog titles compatible with the series endorsed by David Fincher’s participation in it.
We recently told you about ‘Manhunt: UNABOMBER’ and now it is the turn of ‘La Mantis’ (‘La Mante’), although before I would like to clarify that none of them is an original Netflix series, even if they are being sold in Spain this way. The first is from the Discovery Channel, while the one we are dealing with was broadcast by the French channel TF1. Leaving that aside, what is really important is that we are facing a good miniseries about the fascinating universe of psychopaths in which Carole Bouquet shines with its own light.
Two difference stories doomed to converge
The starting point of the film series is that 25 years after the arrest of an assassin nicknamed La Mantis, a copycat has appeared, forcing the police to contact her due to the lack of clues to locate the culprit. That gives rise to the necessary investigation to solve the case but also to a series of plots of a more personal nature that end up being the most interesting of the six episodes that shape this miniseries.
With that I don’t mean that the investigation is heavy, since Nicolas Jean, Alice Chegaray-Breugnot, Gregoire Demaison and Laurent Vivier, creators of the series and directors of all the episodes, know how to make both realities converge naturally and that the evolution of the protagonists makes sense. In this way they ensure that this inevitable initial interest – otherwise we would not begin to see it – is always maintained at a level high enough to move forward.
In addition, the presence of Bouquet helps to create that spark of genius necessary for the most conventional sections to be that glue that is no longer necessary for the evolution of history, but rather something desired so that a character with as much force as his does not end up blurred. for the scarce presence of the rest. There the characteristic coldness that gives her Jeanne serves as a great contrasting element, but also so that the actress can make the most of all the moments, sometimes more evident and others limited to small gestural reactions or the way of pronouncing certain words, in those that can deviate from it.
I did miss a little more chemistry between Bouquet and Fred Testot, who plays his son in fiction in ‘La Mantis’. The funny thing is that it works better at first, which is when the second tries to be impassive before him but almost always hinting that there is an obvious rancor towards him. That varies little by little and the way to approach it is interesting, but he ends up working better interpretively when he focuses on investigating on his own or showing his pain alone than when he interacts with her.
‘The Mantis’, the person beyond the monster
Despite this, his contribution is essential for one of the great successes of the series: knowing how to play with the figure of the hypnotic monster, although in a different line from Hannibal Lecter -an inevitable reference for this type of character-, to show us his humanity, beginning with his need to resume contact with his son and ending with a series of revelations that in themselves are somewhat forced but in return complete an almost perfect drawing of The Mantis.
Already in the case that works as a narrative common thread, the thing lowers the level somewhat. Bouquet knows how to continue taking advantage of his presence, but his contributions are closer to being conventional. And that’s where we find the main weakness of the series: yes, it is very entertaining and has a great character, but the figure of the imitating assassin is still pending that audiovisual work that serves as a reference. Here interesting concepts are discussed but at the moment of truth, you end up knowing more of the same, no matter how much there is a personal element behind that differentiates it. That does not stop taking advantage of it.
For its part, the staging is fluid, playing with the coldness to build around it an atmosphere that is not especially sick but rare enough to give an extra layer of interest in what is happening. However, visually what stimulated me the most was the modus operandi of the imitator to initially knock out his victims, something that the directors correctly reflect but leaving the feeling that they could have taken more advantage of it.
In short, ‘La Mantis’ has enough incentives for its six episodes to fly by, but this is not why we are going to raise more than necessary a series that works very well as a hobby but that on both sides has a series of limitations that prevent you from reaching the Olympus of the series of psychopaths. Come on, for example, it is not even close to the level of ‘Mindhunter’, but it is a more than satisfactory complement if you were left wanting more.