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Series review: Into the Night


- Belgium takes the plunge into the Netflix pool with a production belonging to one of the genres most beloved by the communities of fans of the platform: the disaster series

Series review: Into the Night
Pauline Etienne and Laurent Capelluto in Into the Night

“What the hell?” Thus begins the trailer for Into the Night, the first Netflix series produced in Belgium, created by Jason George and directed by Inti Calfat and Dirk Verheye. On an evening like any other, at Brussels’ international airport, a crowd of strangers cross paths. Their singular destinies will soon collide due to a universal catastrophe. Passengers from the flight 21 Brussels to Moscow do not know it yet, but the sun has suddenly become deadly for human beings. And it isn’t a vulgar atomic shelter that will allow humanity to survive. Their only option? To become night owls.

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In any case, that is what believes Talenzio, a military man linked to NATO who, when told about the situation, is ready to do anything to save himself, starting with the hijacking of a commercial flight. It is under his order — and his weapon — that the captain of the flight, Mathieu, who has just sat down in the cockpit, decides to fly his few passengers into the heart of the night, leaving many others and the rest of his team on the ground.

Through the 6 episodes each lasting some 30 minutes, the veil will progressively be lifted on the background and true personalities of the unfortunate passengers of flight 21. While the stakes are of cosmic proportions, the challenge for the directors is to maintain suspense with little means and a near total unity of time and place. Indeed, the large majority of the season unfolds in the plane of flight 21, over just a few days. Egos and affectations will clash, as if this flying Noah’s Ark gathering the last specimens of an endangered species might allow for it to be (re)defined.

It is no easy feat to maintain rhythm and suspense, all the while granting each character the attention it deserves. The series does not weigh itself down with too many flashbacks, favouring conversations between the passengers instead. Although some of the twists are a little less credible and all of what is unfolding outside of the plane isn’t revealed, it isn’t the fate of humanity that counts (we can safely guess that there is a glimpse of hope shining at the end of the night), as much as the little power plays that spring out between the characters, and the balances of power changing from episode to episode. Some characters assert themselves, others surprise us. And this night, as literal as it is metaphorical, will bring out the best and the worst instincts in the passengers. 

At the helm of the plane, we find the directors who brought us the Flemish series Over Water. The cast features many Belgian actors: Laurent Capelluto, Astrid Whettnall, Pauline Etienne, Babetida Sadjo, Jan Bevoets, Nabil Mallat, Yassine Fadel, Vincent Londez, Laura Sepul

Between the plane-set thriller and the ecological dystopian sci-fi film, Into the Night is a modest first Belgian Netflix series that is striking for its short format, which allows it to keep viewers on their toes around an intriguing but risky concept.

Into the Night is produced by the American platform, and by Belgian company Entre chien et loup, which had already produced the successful RTBF series Public Enemy.

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(Translated from French)

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