‘Keep Breathing’ review: Melissa Barrera stars in a survival thriller that begins long before it runs out of oxygen
The six-episode Netflix show actually starts off pretty well, with Barrera’s Liv desperate to find a flight to Canada after hers was canceled and bribing her way to a private plane which, spoiler-free here, crashes at the border. Canadian. Left alone, she must fight and scratch to survive, find food and find out what the bears are doing in the woods, before finally trying to save herself.
That’s all pretty compelling for a while, but then there’s why this New York lawyer was so determined to reach her destination, and a series of flashbacks involving her colleague-turned-boyfriend (Jeff Wilbusch) and her connections. complicated with his parents.
The back and forth between adventure/survival stakes and rather tedious personal drama leaves « Keep Breathing » breathless, as do some of the whimsical flourishes used to essentially give Barrera – alone as she is – something. with which to interact.
Produced by Martin Gero and Brendan Gall (who worked on « Blindspot », another series about a female protagonist with a dark past), the episodes are relatively and thankfully short, with most running around thirty minutes; even so, the show can’t entirely escape the common feel of a concept film stretched out to roughly twice that length.
Whether it’s struggling to survive or showing his workaholic side in flashbacks, Barrera holds his end of the bargain, but the writing just doesn’t.
Once you start « Breathing » there is a curiosity as to how it all goes, especially since the time requirements aren’t that daunting. It’s not a bad deal, but if you’re waiting for it to get better, well, don’t hold your breath.
“Keep Breathing” premieres July 28 on Netflix.