By Christos Zampounis
If we take into account that drug trafficking is one of the two largest revenue generating businesses in the global economy, then it is obvious that because of the hundreds of millions of users and their relatives, the issue reaches a very wide audience. This thinking seems to have led a number of production companies to commission their writers to write stories starring celebrities or not, ‘professionels de la profession’, in Jean-Luc Godard’s apt phrase. The professionals of the profession are innumerable, as are the films or TV series made for them, from ‘French Connection’ to ‘Narcos’. Amazon Studios decided to invest in an internationally unknown figure compared to Pablo Escobar or El Chapo, who nevertheless made his mark in the country where he worked. Brazil. Pedro Dom was a real person and the TV series, which was completed a few weeks ago, is based on ‘fatos reais’, ‘real facts’, in Portuguese.
Apart from the awards it won, this is an enviable production, of a high level of direction, and dare I say it, of excellent performances by the actors. The two protagonists, father and son, take us, in flashback, the former to the fight against drugs in his capacity as a policeman, the latter to the ‘Calvary’ he is climbing because of his drug addiction. The achievement of the Brazilian filmmakers is that it avoids the hitherto repeated stereotypes, renewing the genre with a rare verve and verve. Both the middle-class world of the servant of the law and the marginal world of the criminal are portrayed with an exemplary conviction and clarity. To appreciate the difference, one need only watch a similar series, “Rio Connection”, fortunately of shorter duration, where mediocrity competes with inadequacy.