TL;DR – An interesting take on the post-apocalyptic genre from Denmark, which blends a number of common elements to make something quite interesting, if not that unique.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
The Post-Apocalyptic genre is one of those settings that can either be gold or a complete drag or in the case of one current series on TV at the moment, it could start off as gold and then drag into oblivion. At the heart of what makes these settings work is the focus on the characters and the human stories among the devastation. This is why films like Mad Max, The Matrix and shows like Jericho, and even video games like Fallout are so evocative. Today we are looking at another entry into this genre from Denmark with The Rain.
So to set the scene, one day Simone (Alba August) was going about her day helping to prep all her friends for an oral exam when her father Frederick (Lars Simonsen) bursts into her school and drags her to a waiting car, yelling at her friends to go home and stay inside. He is yelling something about death in the sky as he races down the highway with his family and in an attempt to get his son Rasmus (Bertil de Lorenzi) to fasten his seatbelt causes a crash on the highway. Just when you think it is all in his head a report of people dying in the rainstorm comes over the radio. Abandoning the car they race to a bunker and make it in just in time before the rain starts. Well their father rushes off to try and see if he can fix the plague and soon their mother Ellen (Iben Hjejle) was killed sacrificing herself to save the kids from themselves, and then Simone and Rasmus are all alone as the world collapses around them, but it is ok because their dad will be back at any moment … nope, and then let’s have a plant growing transition to six years later and Rasmus (Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen) is much older. Just a warning that from here we will be talking about the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] upcoming.
For me The Rain had me sucked in right from the start because it really did a good job setting up the opening disaster really well, you feel the sense of urgency, and you also get it reinforced right from the start just how dangerous the rain can be. Indeed, one of the first places they visit is a school full of dead bodies of children in the playground where they were caught in the rain. As well as this, having the main danger be something that we all take for granted as normal today helps create a feeling of being on edge at all moments as a single raindrop can kill. It also helps that as the cast expands with the raiders Martin (Mikkel Følsgaard), Beatrice (Angela Bundalovic), Jean (Sonny Lindberg), Lea (Jessica Dinnage), and Patrick (Lukas Løkken) that they are all interesting characters. Indeed, the series uses that flashback narrative technique that you see in shows like Lost and Van Helsing, so as the series progresses we get to see the lives of everyone before the rain happened. This works in tandem with the series arc of trying to get to the headquarters of Apollon in Sweden, and both of these are compelling hooks to get us through the season.
When it comes to the tone and style of the storytelling some of it hits real emotional touchstones, while others feel more than a bit familiar. For example when we see Lea’s past with her relationship with her mother and what happened to her after her drink was spiked, you really sympathise with her as she prays for God to help her, and completely sympathise with the guilt she is carrying because moments later the rain hit and those who did it too her were killed immediately. However, on the flip side, in the same episode, we have a house where people are happy and have far too much food for a post-apocalyptic scenario and surprise, guess where they get that food from. A plot point that I have seen many times before. Indeed, The Rain clearly has a lot of inspirations that it is drawing from throughout the show, and at times these come to help create a rich tapestry but at other moments it all feels like we have been here before.
The production design team did a really good job making Denmark look like it had been overgrown for six years. The clothes that everyone was wearing felt appropriate and the bunkers had a great feel to them, even if they were a little overused. Also, I have to give a big shout out for the locations team, they really found some starkly beautiful locations to film in. All of this added too by some fantastic acting by all the cast, you can feel the despair that Rasmus has as all of his world slowly crumbles around him. As well as this, it was also really good to see Simone have an arc where she becomes more and more confident as the season goes on to the point that she is the leader by the end.
In the end, do we recommend The Rain? Yes, yes we do. It would have been great to see it take some more risks and chart a more independent course. However, the characters, overarching story, and design all work really well. It also is only eight episodes long so it does not outstay its welcome at all. Season One of The Rain set up an interesting scenario, and with the ending cabal meeting, I am really interested to see where it goes from here.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Rain
Directed by – Kenneth Kainz & Natasha Arthy
Written by – Jannik Tai Mosholt, Esben Toft Jacobsen, Christian Potalivo, Poul Berg, Lasse Kyed Rasmussen, Marie Østerbye & Mette Heeno
Created by – Jannik Tai Mosholt, Esben Toft Jacobsen & Christian Potalivo
Starring in Season One – Alba August, Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen, Mikkel Følsgaard, Angela Bundalovic, Sonny Lindberg, Jessica Dinnage & Lukas Løkken with Lars Simonsen, Bertil de Lorenzi, Iben Hjejle and Johannes Kuhnke