REVIEW: ‘Kamikaze’ Episodes 1-2

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Kamikaze - But Why Tho

Content Warning: Suicide

Kamikaze is a Dutch-language HBO Max original drama starring Marie Reuther as Julie, a newly minted 18-year-old whose family dies in a plane crash, leaving her alone and eventually leading to her own attempted suicide by plane crash. The Kamikaze premiere splits its time between showing the moments leading to her crash and what happened after she survived.

Kamikaze doesn’t pull any punches It’s a morbid and dark show from the jump. Its first episode is filled with images of death and destruction. I don’t really like the way the editing intersperses those images; certainly, they’re disturbing and it’s effective, but it feels out of place. The Kamikaze premiere already uses so many different types of shots, from regular cameras to cellphone footage to a camera Julie holds herself that this editing just feels like another step too far. I have no idea what this show will bring though, so, at the least, it most certainly sets the tone in the first episode.

Reuther is a great actor. She portrays Julie in so many different states, from the teenage influencer she begins as to the depression she is in just after her family’s death to the manic state she is in while contemplating suicide, and then to the place she finds herself in crashlanded in the desert. It’s an impressive feet selling so many modes of the same person in such quick succession. My concern over having no idea where the show is going is minimized by this strong performance.

The only sense I can get is that Julie’s life is going to take a dramatic dive into dangerous and self-destructive territory. But if the remainder of Kamikaze’s season retains the premiere’s consciousness for the seriousness of its themes. The show never makes light of the death and suicide it delves into or portrays Julie in any unflattering ways as a result. Hopefully this continues.

What feels at odds with these themes at times, though, is the music. It’s music that feels like it belongs during the pre-crash days when Julie was a carefree influencer. At times, when that same music continues into another scene with a different one it works, because its an obvious juxtaposition. But other times, type of music starts to play in a present-day scene, for example, and it doesn’t make me recall the pre-crash days. Rather, it just feels out of place.

I hope that as the series continues the obvious changes Julie underwent, like her new tattoo and buzz cut, are explained in meaningful ways rather than just showing her make rash decisions in a hysterical state. The premise is so poised to do something different and interesting with her character rather than the typical framing of her decisions as frivolous and all her fault. I hope that Kamikaze follows through. I also hope its classic depiction of a therapist as totally useless and probably causing more harm allows the show to address mental health more seriously as a subject later.

The Kamikaze premiere initiates an interesting premise and an excellent performance by its main character. I have no idea where it goes from here, but with a strong start, I remain highly interested.

The Kamikaze premiere, episodes 1 & 2, are streaming now on HBO Max.


'Kamikaze' Episodes 1-2
  • 7.5/10
    Rating - 7.5/10
7.5/10

TL;DR

The Kamikaze premiere initiates an interesting premise and an excellent performance by its main character. I have no idea where it goes from here, but with a strong start, I remain highly interested.