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Netflix’s ‘Barbarians’ a saga of freedom & betrayal

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We often hear the word Barbarian referred to as uncivilized or maybe some kind of evil freaks. This word got its recognition when it was used as a title for German tribes in the early era by the great Roman Empire. But, perhaps the Barbarians weren’t as uncivilized and evil as the Romans portrayed them.

Plus, Germany or Germania as referred to by Romans in that age, was the only place that they were unable to take hold of because of the German tribes who they called Barbarians.

Perhaps, Barbarians weren’t evil; they were just able to stand against one of the greatest Empires of all time; which had more and better military resources than them.

Nowadays, we see a lot of TV series and films being made on the war between the Romans and Barbarians; however, most of them portray these tribes of Germany as killers and monsters who invaded Roman lands.

But most of them didn’t take any interest in showing the other side of the story. A story from the perspective of a Barbarian who was facing cruelty at the hands of Romans.

Until this year, when Netflix decided to stream such a show that put forward the story of the people of ancient Germania and how they fought the great Roman Empire with their strategic planning and  limited warfare resources.

The show is titled; ‘Barbarians’ and it’s been on trending in Pakistan for a couple of weeks now.

 The show stars Jeanne Goursaud and Laurence Rupp as the main protagonists with their individual roles of Thusnelda and Arminius, together with David Schütter in an exceedingly supporting role of  a fictional character Folkwin Wolfspeer including many other talented actors giving life to the show.

Netflix's ‘Barbarians' a saga of freedom & betrayal

‘Barbarians’ is a German production and; hence the language spoken in the show is also German, but you can play its English dubbed version for ease.

Now let’s move on to the plot and story of this series. The plot of the series is based on the prominent Teutoburg forest battle between the people of ancient Germania, aka Barbarians and the army of Romans commanded by Governor Varus, played by Gaetano Aronica.

The series starts to get interesting, when Arminius who was given away by the Reik(leader) of one of the tribes who is actually his biological father, to the Romans as a sign of peace, eventually turns his back on Rome.

Arminius decides to wage a war against Rome that he considered his destiny and was very loyal to. Which by the way, happens; because of Roman’s hostility towards the tribes as they force them to give anything and everything they have to the Roman Empire as a tribute, leaving them to starve and die of hunger.

 He chooses to betray the person who raised him and decides to back his people and free them from this hostile tyranny of Rome by using his insight as military personnel in the Roman Army. Regardless, it turns out that doing this wouldn’t be an easy job for him as he has to unite the tribes who generally don’t trust a man who was raised by Romans and fought by their side.

So, Arminius realizes he has to do this in a smart strategic manner which you will discover after you start watching the series. I mean, I am not spilling the whole tea here!

Overall, the show is enjoyable to watch, and if you’re someone who loves series based on history and ancient times, then this one can be a good pick.

Cinematography, Direction & overall production

The costumes were chosen very precisely for the characters that I really liked about the show and if I talk about the cinematic aspect of the show.

Then I must say that the video and post-production team did a good job of bringing up the feel of the ancient era; however, I think there was room for adding more depth.

We can’t say that the story of this show has a lot of plot twists or that it is filled with a lot of suspense, but then again any series or film that is based on history has to correspond to the historical events for authentication of the story and plot.

Another thing that I wanted to highlight is that it has some overrun tedious scenes like any other series based on ancients battles, and wars which in my opinion could be replaced by showing more of the trio of Folkwin, Arminius and Thusnelda together.

From just being a saga of spears, magic, and battle. It could possibly become a saga of war, vengeance, love, and envy that may bring more flavor to the show. 

Nonetheless, it is too early to assume because the show just aired its first season. Maybe, we will get to see more of the love triangle in upcoming seasons.

Except for these aspects I enjoyed watching this show and I suppose most of the audience did too because not only was it trending on Netflix in Pakistan, but rotten tomatoes a well-known site for critiquing movies and TV series gave ‘Barbarians 2020’ an impressive critique rating of 4/5.

Moreover, the audience score maintained by the show on rotten tomatoes is 82%. If you haven’t watched the show yet then go start watching, what are you even waiting for? And don’t forget to leave your views about the show in the comments section below.

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