Review: “Kaleidoscope” A Netflix Original

Photo by Aurora Wilson/RooNews

Aurora Wilson, Staff Writer

  Netflix’s new original series “Kaleidoscope” follows a group of seven criminals who come together to pull off the extraordinary task of stealing $7 billion from the world’s most highly guarded vault.

  The show features all the great aspects of a well-rounded production, including a strong cast, morally gray characters that pull you to their side, a shockingly good soundtrack and a surprising twist. Even with all these attributes, it still only received a 47% on Rotten Tomatoes.

  Despite the fact that the show checked off most of the boxes required to provide a good drama, it lacks creativity. I found it easy to drift off and felt tempted to reach for my phone during the episodes. 

  The plot follows Leo (Giancarlo Esposito) through his life as a husband, father, and criminal. He builds a team of fellow criminals and we watch the group battle for dominance, seeing the sacrifices each member makes for Leo. The audience observes Leo as his obsession for revenge destroys every aspect of his life. 

  A compelling element of this saga is that each episode takes place at a different time in relation to the heist and can be watched in any order that the viewer wishes. The episodes range from almost 25 years before the heist to six months after. 

  Each installment is named after a different color and the order is randomized for the viewer. The first seven episodes can be mixed and matched to the spectator’s preference, but the episode “White” is considered the finale. 

  The control given to the viewer is definitely appealing, but it often added to the confusion surrounding the plot of the show. The storyline was already difficult to follow, and framing the episodes like this felt unnecessary. 

  I chose to start with the “Yellow” episode which takes place 6 weeks before the heist, and I was swiftly drawn into the world of scheming with the characters. The “Yellow” episode was the most engaging for me because it had riveting and fresh content. As I went through the various colors, each plot point or character trait was being reemphasized or phrased in a slightly different way. 

  The “Red” and “Pink” episodes chronologically fall after the heist, and I watched them right before the attempted burglary finally took place in the “White” episode. Both of these chapters were indicative of what was going to happen in the finale. 

  The spoilers in those episodes weren’t directly obvious, but the somber tone of the characters and the general mood of the episodes led me to believe that something went wrong during the heist. I felt like the entirety of the thriller had been leading up to the ultimate robbery, and before I even got to the finale, I knew to some extent what was going to happen.

  The fluidity of the episodes made it hard to see any sort of in-depth character arcs. The changes that were present were spelled out in large, bold letters telling the audience “I AM A NEW PERSON.” Because each installation is made for a new viewer, they become repetitive and they don’t build upon one another.

  On the surface, “Kaleidoscope” is a bank heist thriller that follows a group of criminals as they plan and execute the biggest robbery of their lives. Throughout the series, Leo attempts to right the wrongs he has committed to the people in his life, but it doesn’t save him in the end. I would love to say this drama left me with some overarching message about humanity, but it is notably lacking in any depth. 

  This show has some redeeming qualities like its comedic timing and relatable characters but that isn’t enough to make me watch it again. My roommate who watched the series with me summed it up perfectly: “Am I mad that I watched this? No. Am I happy that I watched this? Also no.” 

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