Recommended: DMZ on HBO Max
What's DMZ About?
After America's second civil war, a medic named Alma sneaks into Manhattan — which is now a demilitarized zone — to look for the son she lost almost 10 years earlier.
Why (and to whom) do we recommend it?
First and foremost, DMZ features the best performance of Rosario Dawson's long career. In the show's four episodes, she gets one showcase scene after another, whether she's using her wiles to manipulate the DMZ's political system, unleashing holy fury on the people connected to her son's disappearance, or having vunlerable conversations with people from her past who unexpectedly reappear. Dawson makes every emotion register on a human scale, but there's an "unreal" tinge to her precise diction, warrior's posture, and willingness to stay absolutely still during monologues. This gives Alma a mythic quality, like she's a hero in an epic poem as much as a mother on a mission.
That makes sense, since the show is adaptated from a popular DC comic book series. And it's not just Dawson: everything has that operatic spirit. Characters never feel a little angry or fall halfway in love; they experience fury and devotion on a grand scale. Similarly, we never even learn how the second civil war happened, because that's not as important as the seething energy of the hellscape Manhattan has become.
For some, this intensity might be exhausting, even at a relatively brief four hours. Others may be frustrated that just a few short days after she arrives in the DMZ, Alma becomes a political and moral leader for the entire city. But that's how myths and operas work: Big things happen fast, and big consequences follow. On those terms, this show delivers.
Pairs well with
In what may be a casting landmark for the sci-fi/fantasy genre, DMZ doesn't feature a single significant character played by a white man.
TOPICS: DMZ, HBO Max, Ava DuVernay, Benjamin Bratt, Ernest Dickerson, Freddy Miyares, Hoon Lee, Jade Wu, Jordan Preston Carter, Nora Dunn, Roberto Patino, Rosario Dawson