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Anxious People review: An interesting idea that misfires from the start

An open house viewing goes wrong when a robber on the run takes the visitors hostage. Can the local police, led by a father-son duo, handle the crisis and solve the case at hand?

  • Prathibha Joy

  • OTTplay

Last Updated: 04.59 PM, Dec 30, 2021

cover image
A still from the show

Story: A group of strangers are held hostage by a masked robber on the run after a botched attempt at robbing a bank. Father-son cop duo Jim and Jack arrive at the scene, and negotiate with the assailant, whose only demand is pizza and fireworks to let the hostages go free. Although the crisis is averted, the cops are perplexed when they can’t find the assailant, even though there is no other way out. Jack thinks there’s something amiss with the ‘hostages’ and sets out to figure out what actually transpired inside the apartment where they were held for several hours.

Review: The six-part Swedish series Anxious People is based on a bestselling novel by the same name, written by Fredrick Backman. The premise is, no doubt, interesting. An open house viewing gone wrong, with a bunch of eight ‘buyers’ held hostage, while father-son cop duo Jim and Jack try to negotiate their release. When the hostages are eventually set free and Jack begins to interview them about their time in the apartment, he begins to suspect that something is at play – they are unharmed and seem to know each other better now than they did at the start - but can’t put his finger on it right away.

Where the series fails is in its narrative execution – it’s not a gripping crime drama, comedy or a parody and you are never quite invested in the characters, be it the lesbian couple looking for a new home to bring their soon-to-be-born child to, the bank manager who seems to have a particular interest in the apartment, or the elderly couple who pretend to find massive issues with properties to get owners to slash the asking price. Let the premise not fool you into thinking this is a police procedural like The Killing, or The Bridge; it’s NOT, so, don’t watch it with high expectations. Better still, don’t watch it at all. You are not missing anything!

Verdict: Anxious People is a classic example of a missed opportunity of taking a bunch of ideas that could have made good television. No harm in skipping this one.

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