Future Questions Answered By The Past
By: Josiah Akhtab
Netflix’s 2017 American web television series, “Punisher,” released Nov 17, created and written by Steve Lightfoot, visually stunned with covert action, eradicated and severed familial ties, and brutal “Call of Duty”-like style kills.
Jon Bernthal plays Frank Castle, a marine veteran who becomes a vigilante known as “The Punisher” after the murder of his family to avenge their deaths.
The series started off addressing an issue that’s been in America since the country’s inception, PTSD. It revealed the world of veterans after they come back from war, how the country, essentially, used them and set them aside when they no longer proved useful.
The series also put a reversal on this, in Frank Castle’s case, as his family died after he comes back from war as opposed to him, as well as showing how the two worlds paralleled each other.
The characters were methodical and calculated throughout the series. Their actions revealed what they wanted despite what they said and how diplomatic they appeared.
The only character who remained transparent, was Frank Castle. His straightforward, somewhat erratic, and paranoid disposition gave him an edge as the protagonist.
The acting brought viewers into the minds of the characters. It revealed how diplomacy is used to achieve personal agendas.
The cast members performed admirably in accentuating the nature of the military and police world, as well as how the line is sometimes blurred when distinguishing the difference between the two.
The writing served to make the acting realistic and convincing. It was apparent that great thought and consideration was taken as to how certain lines, words, phrases, etc. would either bring to life, or kill the authenticity of the characters throughout.
The writing also made the characters more relatable, showing that, though being in the armed forces requires objectivity and a bit of stoicism, these characters are people with lives, families, and people who care and matter to them.
The tone gave a dark and morbid feel to the series, showing how important and crucial every move each character made was. It made clear how everything is either planned, thought out, and logical with an air of objectivity, bluntness, and a bit of paranoia.
The music did well to bring out the tone. The rough and gruff sound the artists possessed when they were singing, and the slow, dreary classical sound indicated when either something dramatic or crucial was going to happen, keeping the viewer’s attention throughout the series.
The cinematography guided viewers tremendously. Focusing on certain character’s facial expressions, objects, scenery, gave viewers the opportunity to predict what would happen next and possibly how it would play out.
The cinematography also made the plot more apparent, focusing on certain moments and making them as clear as possible to let viewers know that part would either come to pass, or reappear at a later time.
The setting proved to be picture perfect. The hustle and bustle nature of the city provided the ideal environment for covert actions and cover-ups.
The high-rise buildings, bureaucratic organizations, and criminal underworld gave the perspective that the civilization is just as much a war as being in a third world country, and that coming home, sometimes, is its own battle.
Overall, the series shows that not every superhero, or vigilante, needs a cape to get things done.
Sometimes, all it takes is someone who’s got nothing to lose, some skill, and a mean streak, to bring truth to the forefront for not just everyone else, but himself.