Netflix’s 42 Days of Darkness Review: A Heady, Gripping Crime Drama

Netflix’s “42 Days of Darkness” is brutal. The tonality is gray, it is like the color that flows from the face when fear envelops an individual. It’s this cold, sudden take that immediately sets the stage for the realization that something is seriously wrong and, by the end of the series, can only be admired for flawless storytelling. Directed by Gaspar Antillo and Claudia Huaiquimilla, the Chilean crime drama resides in that place where judgment is clouded by emotion more than logic and reasoning. It’s one person’s point of view that often clashes with that of others, and that friction is at the heart of the story.

The story itself is quite simple. The series is loosely based on the disappearance and death of Viviana Haeger in 2010 and investigations follow. It initially looked like a kidnapping, and 42 days later she was found dead on the roof of her own home. The Netflix series is inspired by journalist Rodrigo Fluxám’s 2019 book, “You Know Who: Notes on the Homicide of Viviana Haeger,” and the serialized version has characters with different names, but a similar storyline.

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Veronica Montes (Aline Küppenheim) is married to Mario Medina (Daniel Alcaíno), and the show dates back a decade. Her daughter, Kari, comes home to notice that her mother is missing and, with the house looking like it’s been turned over, assumes Veronica has been kidnapped. She frantically calls her aunt Cecilia (Claudia Di Girólamo) and also informs her father of her disappearance. Mario heads to the police and shortly thereafter a thorough investigation ensues, but with differing opinions and some less believable than others.

What baffles the authorities is the case itself. Located in Altos Del Lago, a rather upscale locality where crime is as rare as more than four hours of sunshine in Iceland. Added to this is the rapid spread of news that involves the media. The series also shows the dark side of how incessant media reporting comes at a cost. Crime is also a chance for Victor Pizarro, a lawyer with a career in decline to catch up on some lost steps in his career. He enlists the help of his two trusted colleagues who are detail-oriented and elite investigators to help him with the case.

The drama is predictable. Investigators and family consider every known contact of Veronica a prime suspect, and Mario finds himself in the spotlight solely because of the testimony he provides. His own lawyer makes things difficult for all parties involved and internal conflicts ensue. The most important point to remember is how an unforeseen event can impact children’s lives. In this case, Kari is torn between having her father’s back and the absence of her mother, whose blame is pinned on the man.

What makes ’42 Days of Darkness’ special is how it weaves through the various angles of a crime. Add the emotions of trust and betrayal, the fragile thread that some relationships cling to, and superb performances from the cast, the Netflix series is a must-watch.

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