The Spanish-Brazilian crime series Santo will be available on Netflix on September 16, 2022. Carlos López is doing the show, Vicente Amorim is directing.
It is the first Spanish film to be shot in both Spain and Brazil. Nostromo Pictures did it. There are 6 episodes in total and each lasts between 43 and 50 minutes.
The cast of the series includes Bruno Gagliasso as Cardona, Raúl Arévalo as Millán, Victória Guerra as Bárbara, Greta Fernández as Susi, Maarten Dannenberg as Olin Hansen, Luiz Felipe Lucas, Iñaki Mur as Guillermo Alonso, Núria Prims, Judith Fernández and María Vázquez as Arantxa.
It’s a thriller show with occult elements that feel like horror at times. It tells the story of Santo, the world’s most wanted drug dealer, whose face has never been seen. Cardona and Millán, two police officers who are after him, initially disagree. But if they want to solve the case and stay alive, they must learn to work together and understand each other.
At the beginning of the series there is a note saying that the police have been looking for a drug lord who also performs bloodthirsty rituals for years, but nobody knows who this person or the cult leader is. And the episode begins with a scene of violence: two masked bikers shoot a man in a car. Then they take his son from the back seat and set the car on fire.
Here we meet Millán, our first chief operating officer. He was related to the person who was burned to ashes. But the person was a drug dealer, showing that Millán is not a law-abiding police inspector like most. Instead, he’s a cripple. At the same time, in Salvador, Brazil, the headless body of a brainless child is found in the sea.
It is said to be a typical sign of Santos’ work that urges federal agent Ernesto Cardona to join “Santos” gang. The fact that this villain has a lot of power makes this mission very difficult. Knowing that he might have him by his side, but he won’t know who, gives him an innate fear that danger is ever-present.
But the secret mission goes awry because his cover is blown. Months later we find Cardona almost dead in an abandoned factory in Spain. His eyelids are cut open and he has no idea what happened to him. He was last seen with Barbara, who was said to be the mistress of an unseen crime boss. This makes it even harder to guess what might have happened to them.
The series manages to keep the mystery of the crime boss unseen to the end. The bloody rituals of a satanic cult add an air of terror and fear to what is otherwise a typical police spy show.
The story is also about getting back at someone. Each person in the story has a backstory, and each has their own reasons for going about their business pursuing such a dangerous criminal. With some experienced actors working on the project, acting and camera work are on par.
The series is packed with action and suspense, but there are also some major problems. Sometimes the flashbacks and jumps in time are difficult to understand without captions. But there are only 6 episodes, and if it takes you up to 3 or 4 episodes to figure out what happened when, that’s a mistake in the story.
Also, the black fade out is used too often, interrupting the story when other transitions could have been used. While it’s clear that Millán and Cardona are the main characters of the story, the female characters feel like they’re only there to help the main cast move forward. Considering how the series ended, they could have drawn their characters better.
When it came to the end I was honestly surprised and confused most of the time. I had some clues that “this” character was the invisible criminal, but as the show went on I couldn’t believe that was the case. But I’m not satisfied with what I’ve learned about who it is.
“Netflix and chill” can’t be used to describe a TV show like Santo. This is a show that will make you move and pay attention. If you just casually look at Santo, you may not understand what is going on. Past and present are not always in the same order. Sometimes you get a text (present tense) and sometimes the characters tell you everything (if you know a person has died and you see them alive, it means you are in the past). So if you don’t go with Santo, you’ll end up upset.
Santo is worth paying attention to. The whole series is like a puzzle that starts to make sense if you stick to the clues to say “Aha!”. if you have the whole picture For example, in one scene, it turns out that someone got caught because their location was sent in a WhatsApp message. Santo is intentionally not written in a straight line. It shows you an event and then tells you what happened before and after that event. In this way, the series retains its sense of surprise and discovery.
It’s pointless to talk about history. Santo is best if you don’t know about it beforehand. Just get in. But here are a few small details if you want something else. In the movie Santo, some police officers try to capture Santo who is the leader of a cult. His followers treat him as a god and perform bloodthirsty rituals in his name. But who is Santo? Is he male or female? Is he a sociopath or god? This name appears many times in history, but this mysterious persona never comes across as a threat. Santo seems less like a spooky boogeyman and more like Mr. X.
One reason is that the show builds a wall around the characters. Santo is so focused on his style that he forgets to connect the audience to the dramatis personae. It’s fun to see Santo grow and change. But even a discerning viewer will have a hard time getting used to any of the characters. Because of this, the ending is less shocking and more frustrating. You have a hard time believing that Santo is who he says he is because (a) there is no clear explanation and (b) this character is still an enigma. Even what happens after the revelation leaves you confused. We could have solved this problem, too, if we had taken care of the characters. With that not there, it’s hard not to believe it’s all just an excuse for a second season.
Still, it can’t be said that the series would have been better if it had been done differently. I just can’t watch it as a movie. The only way to do Santo was as a TV show. There might be some issues, but unlike most Netflix shows, which are just wasters of time, Santo makes every minute worth it by editing the story in such a way that we can only guess where it’s going until the very end. This vision of hell, full of sex, drugs and mutilation, takes away all hope and happiness. Santo is both hard work and a good film. It’s not afraid of a divided response and is ready for one. Consider me ambivalent.
Officer Milan Miguel is handling the Cristobal Martinez case. Two men on a motorbike shot him dead, then burned his body and took away his 8-year-old son Mario.
Miguel thinks one of the guys on the bike works for Santo, an international drug lord who recently got a fake passport and came to Madrid. No one has been able to name him because no one has seen his face.
Miguel and his team find Santo’s secret hideout while searching for him. Inside, they find undercover cop Cardona locked in a cell. He has been working for Santo for some time.
Miguel goes to Cardona for help. Santos left his mark on Cardona, and he doesn’t remember much from working for the drug dealer.
As Miguel and his team investigate the case more closely, they find out that Santo is some kind of guru who does occult things like sacrificing children by cutting up their bodies.
Leading the show, Ral Arévalo as Miguel Millán and Bruno Gagliasso as Ernesto Cardona do nothing out of the ordinary. It turns out they’re just like every other cop we’ve seen in crime shows.
Greta Fernández, who plays Susana “Susi” Jackson, somehow stands out on the show because her character is pitted against Arevalos.
Finally, we have to give it to Victória Guerra as Bárbara Azevedo. Guerra takes every frame she counts and keeps you guessing until the end of the show.
The show moves at a good pace and adding a supernatural element to the villain’s crimes is a good start.
There are some really good plot twists and they often give a lot of information about some of the main characters. These twists or side stories often have something to do with a character’s life.
It’s nice to see that some of the main characters have their own dark sides, even though they’re mostly good.
The show tries to be a complicated thriller but the plot is very difficult to follow. Each episode jumps ahead in time. There isn’t a good place for these backstories in the episode, so it takes a while for the viewer to figure out where the show is in time.
Some of this backstory could have been skipped or left out without much effort. Especially in the first episode, which doesn’t say much about the story of the character Cardona.
Instead of explaining what happened, they repeat the same storylines adding new scenes, which is totally unnecessary.
When Santo tries to add occult rituals to the crimes, it adds something interesting. But because the timelines are wrong it doesn’t work even though it has a good pacing.