DEVS may need a little more time to find its audience, but eventually it will
Describing what Alex Garland's DEVS is about would be spoiling it, which makes it a show that isn't easy to sell or advertise. And indeed, judging from the votes and reviews here on IMDb, it hasn't quite found its audience yet - and that, my friends, is a shame. This show, or rather this mini-series (consisting of 8 episodes), is excellent. Though granted: it's not for everyone. Some have described it as slow, but I'm not sure I agree. Moody perhaps, and there is an almost "ethereal" quality about it (for lack of a better word), but there is so much going on and it's such a thematically rich narrative that I was mesmerized throughout.
Also, there's a lot of understated humor in this compelling tale (if of the darker sort), and it would be a pity if people were turned off by certain reviews because they thought this was some bleak and depressive slog. What is true though is that if you don't find the central themes and ideas around which this show is built fascinating, there's a chance you won't like it (again: finding out what the show is about is part of the fun, so I won't give it away).
But even if DEVS' most satisfying thrills lie more in the concepts presented and less in spectacular action scenes or special effects, its structure is still that of a violent mystery thriller, and the production values are great. Every frame in this show looks gorgeous; the cast - especially Nick Offerman in an unusual turn (whose casting was simply a stroke of genius) and Zach Grenier (in a darkly funny role also playing against type) - is fantastic, and the show's unique, almost transcendent atmosphere is enhanced by a beautiful and haunting musical score by Geoff Barrow, The Insects and Ben Salisbury.
Admittedly, I'm a sci-fi nerd - and one who loved all of writer/director Alex Garland's previous work at that - but as far as I'm concerned, the creative mind behind such films as SUNSHINE, EX MACHINA or ANNIHILATION has once again crafted a beautiful and compelling piece of science fiction that confronts the viewer with fascinating ideas and philosophical questions (btw. if you want to check whether my taste in films generally aligns with yours or not, just click on my name at the beginning of this review and you'll find a list of my fifty favorite films).
DEVS may need a little more time to find its audience, but this mini-series is simply too good to be ignored. I'm positive it won't be for long.
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