We haven’t been doing summer weekend reviews of older films and shows, so here’s a bingeworthy series from 2019 which received a surprise second season in 2022. We’ll get to that (and Sandman) later. Meanwhile, here are four fascinating, rotoscoped hours of psychological drama, comedy, dark secrets, and time-travel.
Titles: “The Crash,” “The Hospital,” “Handheld Blackjack,” “Moving the Keys,” “Alone in This (You Have Me),” “Prayers and Visions,” “The Wedding,” “That Halloween Night.”
Cast and Crew
Director: Hisko Hulsing
Writers: Kate Purdy and Raphael Bob-Waksberg, Lauren Otero, Joanna Calo, Elijah Aron.
Rosa Salazar as Alma Winograd-Diaz
Angelique Cabral as Becca Winograd-Diaz
Bob Odenkirk as Jacob Winograd
Constance Marie as Camila Diaz
Siddharth Dhananjay as Sam
Daveed Diggs as Tunde
Sheila Vand as Farnaz
Kevin Bigley as Reed Hollingsworth
Jeanne Tripplehorn as Beth Hollingsworth
John Corbett as Layton Hollingsworth
Alma Martinez as Rosario de Alejandro
Tyler Posey as Father Miguel
Luna-Marie Katich, Kristalyn Ibarra as younger Alma
After a nearly-fatal car accident, Alma, a brilliant but somewhat unbalanced young woman starts experiencing fragmented time and space. She also becomes reacquainted with her father, a researcher who died when Alma was a little girl. Together, they hope to solve the mystery of his death, and set the world right.
Of course, things may not be as they appear.
….Apart from the characterization and acting, which are both excellent, this film plays a difficult and delicate narrative game. Professor Winograd really was examining time and the nature of reality, and a genuine mystery surrounds the night he died. Alma learns much which appears to be true, in the world of the series.
However, we know from the start that schizophrenia has manifested in this family before, so….
I really like the conclusion, eye-opening and unsettling in its ambiguity. Yes, I’ll watch Season Two, but it necessarily has to undo that ending.
Originality: 3/6 The show owes an obvious debt to Richard Linklater’s Waking Life (2001) and even his adaptation of A Scanner Darkly (2006), but it definitely goes in its own direction.
Acting: 6/6 The show features strong performances that work well in this format. Much relies on Rosa Salazar, in particular, and she delivers. At present, it can be challenging to see Bob Odenkirk as anyone but Saul Goodman, but he has the right presence for this character.
Story: 6/6 The story explores its characters and themes with an interesting narration that can be, at turns, dark, affirming, and comical.
Animation: 5/6 The blend of rotoscoped performances with backdrops created through other means proves effective in depicting a world that exists at least partially within Alma’s mind.
Emotional Response: 6/6 Despite its surreal elements and SF/F tropes, Undone remains rooted in the credible and believable characters and their relations.
Overall: 5/6 This series, incidentally, shows how to do diversity. Religious beliefs, ethnic backgrounds, culture– and Alma’s cochlear implant, only rarely mentioned– influence who these people are, but none of these things define them or explain why they’re in this story.
In total, Undone, Season One, receives 36/42