When Netflix drooped the trailer for their new show, The OA, last week, it raised a lot of questions. Happily, by the climax of the eight episode show, the creators are happy to answer some of them, leave others hanging, and gift you with a whole bunch more.
Created by Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, in their third collaboration together (after the films Sound of My Voice and The East, both well worth seeking out, by the way), this tells the story of Prairie (Marling), a young woman who returns home after disappearing several years before. That she was blind when she vanished and returns with sight is only one of the many mysteries explored across the series.
The OA asks big questions, explores wild concepts but never strays away from emotional truth. In fact it’s an amazingly affecting story and its climax left me in floods of tears (for a number of reasons I’ll avoid for the sake of spoilers). Suffice to say I needed to sit and quietly process what I’d experienced before starting this review.
It’s a bold, smart story, subtly creepy, a psychedelic head-fuck, desperately sad and astonishingly hopeful all rolled together in one tour de force of script, casting, directing and acting.
Allow yourself to be pulled along by it and you’ll be enveloped in a philosophically challenging, emotionally captivating drama unlike anything Netflix has produced to date.
Now that issue of allowing yourself to be pulled in is an important one. In this post-truth age of ever deepening (and often fully justified) cynicism, The OA could be seen as frequently skating close to thin ice. To get maximum effect from Marling and Batmanglij’s story you will need to loosen up and go with the flow. Do so and you’ll be rewarded with a truly exceptional experience, occasionally frustrating but wildly ambitious and wholly satisfying.
Let’s have more from Marling and Batmanglij please, Netflix, because The OA is an absolute triumph!