Netflix unveiled its latest six-part series, “Unseen,” on July 23, 2023. Although viewers may initially mistake it for another film with the same title released around the same time, this South African series is entirely distinct from the movie. Based on the Turkish series “Fatma” by directors Özer Feyzioğlu and Özgür Önürme, “Unseen” follows the gripping story of a cleaning lady who unexpectedly discovers that her seemingly insignificant social status allows her to commit murder without drawing suspicion. The show’s impeccable pacing and well-crafted plot are complemented by scathing social commentary on the clandestine aspects of African society.
Featuring a talented ensemble cast including Gail Mabalane, Vuyo Dabula, Brendon Daniels, Hein de Vries, Ilse Klink, Mothusi Magano, Waldemar Schultz, Dineo Langa, Abduragman Adams, Shimmy Isaacs, Rapulana Seiphemo, Colin Moss, Shamilla Ismail Miller, Clifford Young, and Lehasa Moloi, “Unseen” delivers commendable performances, impressive cinematography, and a realistic script. Although it hasn’t immediately surged to become Netflix’s top series since its release, the show is expected to gain momentum and garner more attention in the days to come.
‘Unseen’ Explores Crime and Redemption in South Africa
“Unseen” is a direct adaptation of the Turkish series “Fatma,” meaning viewers familiar with the original will already know the tale of the cleaning lady’s rampage through the city’s dingy lanes. However, the show distinguishes itself by altering the social scenario and setting it in South Africa, which sets it apart and appeals to English-speaking audiences.
While following the life of an unlikely killer is a familiar theme in the crime and mystery genre, “Unseen” manages to breathe new life into the concept through its placement in present-day South African society and its compelling lead character. Despite relying on well-established tropes, the show’s unique setting and the impressive performance of its lead inject fresh vitality into this Netflix adaptation.
The series begins with Zenzi Mwala, portrayed by Gale Mabalane, embarking on a search for her husband in a world filled with criminals and lowlifes following his release from prison. The show’s world-building is methodical and deliberate, taking its time to immerse viewers in Zenzi’s reality and the challenges she faces. As she navigates through this dangerous underworld, she finds herself confronted with the harsh truth that she must resort to committing crimes herself to survive and protect her loved ones.
The slow yet steady exploration of Zenzi’s journey adds depth and complexity to the series, allowing audiences to empathize with her as she grapples with difficult decisions in an unforgiving environment.
Realism and Compelling Storytelling: A Captivating Crime Thriller in ‘Unseen
“Unseen” wastes no time in delivering its message, captivating viewers from the first episode with its well-paced storytelling. As the protagonist, Zenzi, played brilliantly by Gale Mabalane, ventures further into the criminal world, her unsuspecting nature becomes a key aspect of the series, enhancing the suspense during the middle section. Although there are moments where the plot may appear stretched, the show quickly regains momentum with solid additions in the fourth episode. The final two episodes are the standout highlights, showcasing Zenzi’s survival skills akin to a near-John Wick quality, overcoming seemingly impossible situations.
What sets “Unseen” apart is its commitment to realism. Scenes of murder and other aspects of the series are depicted authentically, making the story more believable and compelling for the audience. The impressive cinematography and sound further enhance the viewing experience, holding viewers’ attention throughout.
Overall, “Unseen” delivers an important narrative that delves into new avenues in the streaming world. While it may contain some genre clichés, the show remains worth watching, especially for those seeking a realistic and immersive crime thriller experience.