August 22, 2016


Netflix’ The Get Down Part 1, Where Dreams Rise From The Rubble

1970’s South Bronx is the backdrop for this netflix show that details the lives of various characters as disco fills the airwaves while hip-hop emerges from the shadows.  

I fit into the demographics, having grown up in the South Bronx during this time and being a fan of this type of music and in particular, Grandmaster Flash. I appreciate how “The Get Down” blends in real images from the past into the show to give it a historically accurate feel.

The central point is the budding romance between Ezekiel (Justice Smith) and Mylene (Herizen F. Guardiola).

She wants to be a singer but is trapped in a home headed by a religious father, who runs a church and has strict rules for his daughter. She dreams of someday leaving for a better place.

Meanwhile, Ezekiel is a talented poet, who loves his roots. There’s some deep issues here where he is conflicted over the gift he has and how that affects the emotional bonds that leaving the ghetto would have on him. He has embraced the “coolness” of his life and feels a sense of obligation.

Their romance is a key plot point and it is from here where everything branches out. But it’s also the weak link. They do a good job in the roles and have adequate chemistry, but I don’t feel invested in their relationship. When they’re on screen, the plot clogs up—add to it the ever growing conflicts that scream of contrivances. When one needs the other, things get in the way, things the other seems to prefer to do.

However, all the other stories are interesting. So as Ezekiel and Mylene have their separate lives, it’s these lives that bring in other characters who energize the plot and propel it forward.

Mylene’s uncle, Papa Fuerte, is masterfully portrayed by Jimmy Smits. He’s a powerful man who cares so deeply for his people and wants to help them. He uses his political connections in order to get the finances to build homes from the ruins to give hope and instill pride for his people.

Ezekiel’s best relationship is with Shaolin Fantastic (Shameik Moore).

Shaolin represents a world where a young man feels trapped, making decisions that further exasperates the stronghold that the ghetto has over him. And so his friendship with Ezekiel and watching how they seemingly exist in the same spot, but are actually heading in opposite directions, is compelling to watch. 

The two guys combine with three others to form a hip-hop group with crazy mixing. And when watching the first episode, it started off a bit slow and I wasn’t sure where the story was headed until the end of the episode when these guys came together in back alley where we are introduced to “The Get Down”. And from this point onward, the story gains traction. Their lives, the beats, all meld together to form an immersive story.

Another win for Netflix.


About Lisa

Passionate about movies and writing. Hopes to someday be a published writer. So when she's not staring at the tube, she's spilling her imagination onto a blank page.

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