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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Devs first impression: Alex Garland’s TV series is captivating

Devs is a TV series from Alex Garland, screenwriter of films like 28 Days Later, writer and director of Ex Machina and Annihilation. The English creative continues to impress with the FX series.

Written by Kshitij Rawat | New Delhi | Updated: March 22, 2020 3:02:09 pm
Devs review Devs is streaming on Hotstar.

Devs marks Annihilation director Alex Garland’s small screen debut, and it is a confident foray indeed. Equal parts thrilling and uncanny, the TV series builds tension and delivers information in bits – constantly keeping the viewers on their toes.

The title refers to a secret division inside a quantum computing company called Amaya run by Nick Offerman’s enigmatic, bearded Forest. Nobody, including the media and the US government, knows what is actually being developed there except the employees and Forest himself.

The title refers to a secret division inside a quantum computing company called Amaya run by Nick Offerman’s enigmatic Forest. Nobody, including the media and the US government, knows what is actually being developed there except the employees and Forest himself.

Sonoya Mizuno’s Lily Chan and her boyfriend Sergei (Karl Glusman) work in the company. Sergei is promoted to Devs and escorted to the high tech structure that houses Devs. There, a perplexed Sergei is given a workstation.

Sergei is horrified by the code he sees on the screen and records it using his wristwatch. He flees from the building, only to be confronted by Forest in the woods surrounding the building.

Lily then becomes the centre of the story. She does not believe the official story that Sergei burnt himself to death, as seen in the purported CCTV video. She thinks something is amiss and there is more going on here.

Devs handles a few heavy topics. The biggest mystery the show puts forward is resolved pretty early, and while it is not groundbreaking in itself, it is its application, actual and potential, that is interesting.

The actors are all great in the series. Of course, Offerman is easily the best one here, but Mizuno also distinguishes herself. Zach Grenier as Amaya’s head of security also impresses.

Devs is also quite beautifully shot and like Annihilation, which was released on Netflix outside US, Canada and China, I wish it was released on the big screen. Alex Garland’s frequent collaborator Rob Hardy once again handles the camera like a master, and creates a visual language that is not only pleasing, but also different from anything he has done before.

So far, four episodes of the show are streaming. Let’s just hope Devs continues to be this captivating until the end.

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