Dom (Brazilian series with subtitles on Amazon Prime); Cast: Gabriel Leone, Flavio Tolezani, Filipe Braganca, Raquel Villar, Mariana Cerrone, Laila Garin, Isabella Santoni, Ramon Francisco; Created by: Breno Silveira; Rating: * * * and 1/2 (three and a half stars)
BY VINAYAK CHAKRAVORTY
The father is a cop, the son is a criminal, and the show is a suspense drama woven around familial conflict. Bollywood masala, anyone? Well, “Dom” is based on a true story that happened in Brazil, the pre-credits announce. Truth can be stranger than fiction.
Brazilian filmmaker Breno Silveira’s lavish saga throws a heady mix of drugs, sex and guns into a poignant relationship drama that lingers. The series is unapologetic in stamping crime as a way of life in Rio de Janeiro — from the city’s simmering favelas to the posh highrises — even as it tries to understand what gives birth to crime and criminals.
“Dom” is story of young Pedro (Gabriel Leone), the son of policeman Victor Dantas (Flavio Tolezani). The premise becomes clear right at the start, as we find Pedro partying away with cocaine and booze with his buddy in the slums of Rio. His recklessness is a trait that is crisply established and despite his seemingly normal middle-class upbringing, Pedro will go from drug addict to becoming the leader of a gang that aces in robbing houses of the super-rich.
The plot actually draws from a real incident that made it to Brazilian newspapers back in the 2000s. Stories about the “Little Playboy with blond hair and blue eyes” still abound the net, proving the unending curiosity about such a protagonist.
Silveira and his co-writers (Higia Ikeda, Fabio Mendes, Carolina Neves, and Marcelo Vindicato) spice up that true story with abundant nudity and violence to make “Dom” a gripping watch, yet never losing touch with the basics of storytelling. To make the narrative interesting, the writers constantly swing between past and present, showing Victor as a youth (Filipe Braganca) who joins police intelligence.
The parallel narrative structure, highlighting Victor and Pedro’s lives, engages the viewer by showing how the father and the son moved in opposite directions — marked by their own choices, and with the favelas coincidentally playing an important role in both cases. Adept storytelling balances the two tracks well.
The show often tends to get over the top with its ultra-glamorised portrayal of crime, many might argue. What needs to be understood is that Silveira and team were trying to understand the phenomenon of crime being perhaps the easiest and most lucrative get-rich scheme in the society that they spotlight on with the series. Served with edge-of-seat entertainment, some fine acting and a remarkable soundtrack, the series makes for a good watch all the way.