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Maté is a gifted runner, and views winning a forthcoming race as his ticket out of poverty in a town without employment or prospects. His father is in prison, his older brother Joci is his guardian and a small-time crook, hanging around with a gang of losers and stealing low-value items from the shop where Maté works. The gang witness the theft of a statue for scrap metal and are arrested by corrupt police to meet performance targets. Enter Acs, a motorcycling new police chief. Acs offers to teach the youths how to earn back respect. He trains them in martial arts and gets them fit, then gradually makes them indispensable. They help businesses with security and, in return, are equipped as a militia. Their increasing authority leads them to drive out criminals and drug dealers, but also causes a rift between Maté and Tibi, his trainer, and Tibi's daughter Anita, with whom Maté has started a relationship. Meanwhile Acs has seduced the mayor of the town, then stands for election to ...Written by
Interesting and thought-provoking look at the appeal of hardline law and order in a broken society. Brothers Maté and Joci are believable as youngsters trying to get by in a provincial city with high unemployment and corrupt local officials. We are carried with them as they are drawn into a paramilitary group and ditch their old allegiances.
The relationship between Maté and Anita feels rushed, but the betrayal of Tibi, the athletics trainer, is powerfully done. There are flaws and unanswered questions: What happens to the money Tibi gave Maté for running shoes? Does Maté ever compete in the race that seems his only hope at the outset? We're Acs' motives always honourable? - but these do not detract from the story. The element of racism does not translate well - I was not always able to recognise the ethnicities behind the divisions - and the whole tale is shoehorned into two one-hour episodes but could have been spread more evenly over three. The show avoids easy answers, however, and leaves its questions hanging. How far are we willing to go, how much to tolerate, in the search for peace and social order?
The re-election of Viktor Orban in Hungary, and the spread of right-wing ideologies across Europe, mean the issues raised are as relevant in 2018 as they were when the show was made. Well worth a watch.
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