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Prisoners Of War: The Complete First Season
If you've never heard of Prisoners of War, I can't fault you, I myself only heard about it when I seen it up for grabs for review on this website. However, I'm sure most that are reading this review that haven't seen it at least heard of the Showtime juggernaut, Homeland, which was created by Gideon Raff, who a few years before Homeland became a staple for television viewers in America, created this series, which Homeland was adapted from. Prisoners of War is an Israeli television series that won "Best Drama Series of 2010″ by the Israeli Academy of Film and Television among a bevy of multiple awards, and would become Israel's highest rated TV drama of all time.
The show kicks off by showing us some flashbacks to 20 something's Nimrod Klein (played by Yoram Toledano), Uri Zach (played by Yishai Golan), and Amiel Ben-Horin (played by Assi Cohen), who were all leading great lives with their loved ones. Nimrod was already a happily married family man with a wife, Talia (played by Yael Abecassis), and already had a daughter, Dana (played by Yael Eitan.) Uri had found the woman of his dreams, Nurit (played by Mili Avital) and was looking forward to spending the rest of their lives together. Amiel had an amazing sister, Yael (played by Adi Ezroni), that meant the world to him. The three men all had signed up for service and they were all called to duty by their country.
Flash forward 17 years later and we find out that these three men never returned home to their loved ones, they were captured and have been imprisoned for a majority of their duration of service, brutally tortured day in and day out, eventually resulting in Amiel's death. The country has finally brokered a deal for the men who have become a national symbol of hope for Israel, to finally return home to their old lives.
When they return to their home lives, both men take two entirely different approaches, Nimrod runs head on back into everyday life, he wants to begin looking for a job, making love to his wife, and having parties, essentially trying to ignore and bury his troubles from the past seventeen years as a captive deep down. He comes back to find that his wife he treasured has gotten older, constantly bringing up her older appearance and physique, he realizes that his young daughter is a troubled young woman that is having sex with much older men, and he has a teenage son that he never go to meet. He even notices the Israel which he knew, is not the same, but he's desperate to fit in. Uri however has been emotionally ruined from his experience, he just wants to be left alone, doesn't talk to anyone and seems to embrace what has happened to him. To make matters worse, he comes home to nothing. His mother has passed away, his father's health is shot, and his wife was unfaithful to him while he was in captivity and married his older brother, had a son, and has now been asked to keep up the façade that she has remained faithful, despite her overly negative image for her public betrayal. This part of the series treaded the dreaded soap opera territory, but thankfully the writers knew what they were doing and executed the storyline perfectly.
There are various subplots in the series, while the majority of this first season focuses on Uri and Nimrod's reintegration into society, we also get flashes of what exactly happened to them during their time in captivity. We get a side story focusing on Amiel's sister who can't get over his death, continually has visions of him, and is adamant that he's alive due to his body not being able to be properly identified. Lastly we get a small arc where Uri and Nimrod are studied by psychologist Haim Cohen (portrayed by Gal Zaid), who suspects that the two may be creating false stories of captivity and is determined to find out exactly what happened to both men during captivity and what secrets they may be hiding.
These first 10 episodes of the series follows Nimrod and Uri as they reintegrate into a society that has deemed them national icons, as they try to fit in into their old lives, while working through the trauma of being held captive and tortured. They must deal with partners who waited or moved on, children who have grown up without them, and family members who have died.
2. The Facility, Part 1
3. The Facility, Part 2
4. Letters From Mom
5. Who Let The Dogs Out?
6. The Journal
7. A Picture From Hell
8. Family Portrait
9. Awake At Night
10. The Tape
+ Wonderful performances from the entire primary cast, especially those portraying the POW.
+ Well told story.
- The pacing hinders the series in the middle portion.
- Treads the line of becoming a soap opera occasionally, but bounces back.
Video and Audio:
Prisoners of War: Season One is presented in it's original broadcast ratio in a 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation. The picture quality is good for what one can expect on DVD. There were no major signs of any grain and is overall a clean presentation.
The audio is a Hebrew Dolby Digital track with unlocked English subtitles. The dialogue is crystal clear and I had no problems with any type of distortion or dropouts during playback.
Extras: - The making of Prisoners of War. Overall:
With fantastic actors and captivating storytelling, Prisoners of War is a must watch, especially if you're a fan of it's American successor Homeland. Highly recommended.
- The making of Prisoners of War.