REVIEW: ‘Kamikaze’ Episode 3-4

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Kamikaze Episodes 3-4 - But Why Tho

Kamikaze is a Dutch-language HBO Max original drama directed by Kaspar Munk based on the novel Muleum by Erlend Loe. The show stars 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 a plane crash. Kamikaze Episodes 3-4  see Julie spiraling as she prays to die in a plane crash and turns to somewhat manipulative sex to drown out her emotions.

Reuther’s performance as Julie continues to be the main highlight of Kamikaze. Her character isn’t necessarily likable—sympathetic as she may be. But the actor’s ability to play so many different versions of that same character scene to scene, or even within the same scene, is so impressive. She’s sometimes manic, sometimes depressive, sometimes frozen, and sometimes in survival mode, but she’s always totally convincing and never quite exactly what you expect from her. Of course, given her traumatic circumstances, it’s hard to expect much of anything, but that’s just another part of what keeps Kamikaze Episodes 3-4 exciting.

While I complained in the previous episodes about some of the jarring changes in filming style scene to scene, these subsequent episodes made it more clear that was an intentional direction. While it doesn’t make me feel any better about those specific choices, these two episodes feature their own unique stylistic moments as well. Episode 3 contains a graphic walkthrough of the moments before Julie’s family died as if she was there watching it, a video montage of mammals having sex, and a hand-drawn animation that repeats several times over. Episode 4 has an entire claymation-style sequence a la Frosty the Snowman as Julie tells another character a violent story. Both of these breaks in the regular style are a bit odd, but they also add a character to the show that I can’t help but find captivating as well. It keeps me anticipating what weird style the next episode will break into.

I wish Kamikaze Episodes 3-4 spent more time with current Julie. I have absolutely no idea what is going on there still and do find it just a bit more interesting than the flashback timeline. It’s not that the story of how Julie got here, crashlanded in the desert isn’t interesting, but there’s such a dramatic difference in where she is at now from where she was at before that these mid-story episodes felt more like a bridge for Julie’s emotional state than pushers of the plot. Hopefully, this emotional detour will pay off.

I also have to briefly bemoan the lack of translation for Julie’s text messages. She receives a ton of phone notifications which she ignores, and only a select few receive translations in the subtitles. I know that they come at the same time, often, as dialogue or voiceover, and I can pretty easily fill in the blanks as to what they might say. But I do wish I just knew for sure.

Kamikaze Episodes 3-4 are emotional bridge episodes more so than developers of the plot. But they do help make some of the show’s stylistic choices more clear and showcase Reuther’s acting skills substantially.

Kamikaze Episodes 3-4 is streaming now on HBO Max with new episodes airing Sundays.


Kamikaze Episodes 3-4
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

Kamikaze Episodes 3-4 are emotional bridge episodes more so than developers of the plot. But they do help make some of the show’s stylistic choices more clear and showcase Reuther’s acting skills substantially.