🇳🇴 GANGS OF OSLO 🇳🇴
Gangs of Oslo aka Blodsbrødre(2023‑ ) is a Norwegian crime drama available on Netflix internationally. It has 6 episodes of approximately 50 minutes in length. Rated 15 U.K. for language, violence, injury detail, drug misuse and discrimination. In Norwegian with subtitles (also available dubbed).
“Policeman Moaz Ibrahim is forced into living a dangerous double life with the criminal gang Enemiez as an attempt to keep his shady past hidden from the outside world.” IMDb
Emir Zamwa as Moaz
Mohammed Youssef as Rami
Ishak Kaya as Tarik
Christopher Rygh as Vegard
Lise Risom Olsen as Linda
Ingvild Lakou as India
Shaniaz Hama Ali as Emine
Emil Johnsen as Brynjar
Karin Klouman as Sissel
Per Kjerstad as Are
Writer: Ole Endresen
Director: Ole Endresen
Composer: Tommy Tee
Cinematographer: Gaute Gunnari
Editors: Simen Gengenbach, Sverrir Kristjánsson, Bobbie Esra Geelmuyden Pertan, Sully Reed
Production Designer: Saga Thiberg
Costume Designer: Marie Nesset
Ole Endresen has written for shows such as Lilyhammer and Aber Bergen. He has directed episodes of Lilyhammer, Aber Bergen, Bulletproof and Young Wallander.
I have watched several TV series and films from all over the world about urban gangs. London, Tokyo, Paris, Rome, Naples, Seoul, Stockholm, Berlin, Copenhagen and more have all graced my TV screen at one time or another. This series, Gangs of London, is a first from Norway. The reason I am saying this is to put my review into context because it’s up against some stiff “competition” from other productions. One of the main things that piqued my interest was whether it could bring something a bit different to the table. Would it hold my interest?
This series does have some issues but, nevertheless, as it progressed I found myself liking it more until by the end I felt that I would watch another season if it gets one. Why? Because, although it came quite late in the day, I was interested enough in the main characters to want to find out what happens to them next.
One of my gripes with this show is the title it has been given in English. I’m not sure whether it was to tie it to the shirt tails of Gangs of London (or New York for that matter) but I feel quite strongly that this title does it no favours concerning what the focus of the show actually is. Firstly it is only about one gang with a minor role as an instigator played by another. As the original Norwegian title makes clear this series is about blood brothers, not gangs per se.
Positives for me were the naturalistic acting, the direction and the music (I absolutely LOVE the song used in the intro!). I liked the choice to add captions with the names and roles of characters as they were introduced and that they were filmed differently for that segment.
I did have some issues with this series though… Some of the characters lacked depth and development and with others, their motivations could have been clearer. A main sticking point for quite a while was with the main protagonist who I struggled to empathise with (some of the decisions he made were just terrible). I felt more sympathy towards his childhood friend if I’m perfectly honest. But perhaps that was the point.
I thought the young actor playing Tarik was excellent. However, for an attentive and concerned mother, his mum seemed to be conveniently blind for some time when it came to his footwear… this I found to be a bit of a stretch.
Some of the placement of dialogue was odd, such as when and where Rami asks his girlfriend how he should know the baby is his. I mean in a hospital just as you’re about to walk into the scan? Really?
A technical issue I had was that the subtitles almost continually missed out important words such as “Bro”. Those are there for a reason because they are all part and parcel of the subculture.
And, ah, the humour. One of the things I loved about Lilyhammer is how extremely funny it was within a dark storyline. Now, Gangs of Oslo does have a character who appears to be there, at least in part, to add humour. Unfortunately much of the time it falls a bit flat. I would have preferred either to have skipped the humour altogether or to have had it leaned more heavily into it so that it was a bigger contrast and acted as comic relief.
Overall though, as I said near the start, I did warm to the characters and their faults and vulnerabilities and I would watch another series. In the meantime, I’ll be happily listening to the theme song now and again.
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