A truth that echoes itself again and again throughout our lifetime is this, there are two sides to every story, at least. That truth falls apart in "The Day," ("De Dag") a Dutch series that invites the audience to spend entire episodes with either the negotiators of a police force or the criminals they are communicating with who are held up in a bank executing their heist plan.
The first two episodes play for the viewer the moments leading up to when the police found out that a hostage crisis was in effect and the beginning of negotiations. As well as the moments before all hostages were restrained and what actions follow them while being held in the bank.
With even and odd episodes proceeding with their own narratives, the two perspectives have complimentary plot points that do the dual style proceedings well. Their individual characters and minor conflicts are not dawdling, and each adds value to the exciting fictional momentum of police forces cracking down on a hostage crisis.
With a partnered team of negotiators led by the female veteran of the craft, it's in the character's professionalism that drives their performances. In other iterations of comms between criminal and negotiator, they have been dotted with charm from the culprits or stretched beyond the reality of "Here's what I want, get it for me." Their psychological profiling is detailed and develops the characters as intellectuals, as the idea of written omnipotence is thrown out.
That being said, I appreciate the story's lack of narrator. The setup is reminiscent of "Money Heist" on Netflix, but that has one heist woman serve as the narrator for most episodes and situations, and watchers can rely on her to break down what's necessary. It's admirable to forego that element and rely solely on what's shown and spoken between people.
In watching chaos be controlled by respondent forces, the production value is a highlight of the series. When watching the negotiator come through and pass officers no extra is phoning in their work and costuming is a standout.
There will be parts of the story requiring viewers to piece together what they know from watching both sides. The episodes and their ends are wonderful teases and invitations into a constantly developing story, yet one entirely framed around one day. It's two different experiences watching "The Day." One follows police forces moving quickly and procedurally, at times with heavy content being unwound by these professionals in high-intensity positions. The second is the storm interrupting the normalcy of the victims who are as regular as you and me in these high-stress positions they're unprepared for. Both are rewarding.
"The Day" ("De Dag") is directed by Gilles Coulier and Dries Vos. The series has been awarded for Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best TV Series at the 2019 Film Festival Oostende. At the 2018 Biografilm "The Day" won Best Series, and in the same year was awarded Best European Fiction at the Festival De La Fiction TV.
To watch "The Day," ("De Dag") it will be available June 4 on new streaming service Topic. Topic is the new streaming service from First Look Media.
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