As is the nature of Netflix Originals, Delinda Jacobs’s The Forest is a French crime mini-series that feels like a completion project ripping off the creative works of better filmmakers. An unfulfilled esoteric narrative filmed in the beautiful northern forests of France hints at some rooted mystery just around the corner until you turn that bend and realize that the writers had nothing better to offer.
The series traces an all too familiar plot of a small town murder mystery where everyone and no one is a suspect and things are strangely appearing that end up rooted in a mundane explanation. A wild card village citizen who decides to commit her independent spirit to solving the mystery, while finding her own familial story in the process. Sexual tension across the board. Cops being largely useless and seemingly easy to lie to. A saddening demonstration of the corruption of the youth in no small measure due to the lax sexual expectation placed on children (especially French society). Generally unlikable people across the board with alot of warm bodies who do little else than walk around. A melancholy developing dynamic between the town-folks with liars and thieves handing out plot hole fixers.
The show comes nowhere near to a creative development worth watching past the first three episodes. Where a mini-series is supposed to develop and introduce layers to the complex web of fine-tuned writing, The Forest is an exercise in futility comparable to watching hamsters running theirs wheels. A weaving narrative that attempts to overlap with the plot-murder that takes an all too familiar feel-good dive into a family melodrama. And in the end, an immesely boring villain that makes it oh so much easier to appreciate how perfectly casted Glenn Fleshler was in True Detective.
For people who really like crime dramas, it’s not the worst thing in the world, and certainly after Dark, I wish that Netflix had more foreign crime dramas, but much better crime shows exist* for you to waste your time here unless you’ve seen them all.
* Here are 5:
- The Fall
And if you can get you hands on True Detective (season one), that is the place to start.