The Get Down, the latest from Baz Luhrmann, is a new (and very expensive) Netflix show about the birth of hip hop set in the Bronx of the late 1970s. I admit that I was surprised when I heard Luhrmann was working on this, but upon further thought, the time period and topic lend themselves well to Luhrmann's highly stylized and frenetic direction.
The pilot, the only one actually directed by Luhrmann, is chock full of Luhrmann's visual panache and manic style, but the latter at times felt a bit too much especially in the first half of the extra long 90-minute episode where viewers are still trying to get a sense of the world and its characters. The tone is all over the place and the hyper editing threatened to make everything practically incoherent. Thankfully the performances held up and I'm intrigued enough to further follow the stories of Ezekiel, Shaolin, and their ragtag group of friends.
As for my best shot, I chose something that came from one of my favorite sequences in the pilot. This was one of the few times Luhrmann and company slowed it down a bit, giving us a better sense of the main character and just letting the power of words do most of the work.
Here Ezekiel is challenged by his teacher to recite a very personal poem he wrote talking about his dead parents. It's an evocative moment that appropriately starts off visually evocative as well with the camera panning to the left obscuring Ezekiel at the same time he's finally opening himself up. I love this particular shot as well because it highlights an Ezekiel who is literally split down the middle just as his journey seems to be. On the one hand there's his pursuit of his crush Mylene and on the other is his unlikely partnership with Shaolin. It'll be interesting to see how exactly the show handles this moving forward.