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Photo: ‘Keep Breathing’
‘Keep Breathing,’ at its core is a drama genre series with dramatic survivalist elements. The main story of the film unfolds through flashbacks which serve as the primary method through which the series develops the protagonist’s character. The show uses the setting of the disaster, a plane crash that leaves the heroine of the series stranded in a remote region of Canada, as a catalyst for telling the story of Liv’s (Melissa Barrera) past. While this series intends to tell the story of Liv’s lone survival in this remote forested area, it uses the problems and difficulties of her past as a method for portraying Liv’s strength.
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The heroine’s ability to push through certain death is shown to have been developed as a result of the pain that she has suffered through in her normal life. ‘Keep Breathing,’ juggles the past and present of Liv’s circumstances and connects the two together so that the story cannot move forward without first reflecting upon the significance of her past and how it directly affects Liv’s focus and attention in the present. This series definitely struggles to find the right balance in its shift and transition between moments of time. While at times this series has moments where it piques the interest of the viewer, much of its content is bogged down by unnecessary information.
This influx of content drags the quality of the series down, ultimately pushing the viewer to ask the question, what is the true intention of the series? With the show’s constant state of change and overuse of flashbacks, this comes across not as thoughtful or trailblazing but can be more accurately denoted as a convoluted, jumbled mess.
‘Keep Breathing’: A Survivalist-Drama Series
‘Keep Breathing,’ on a surface level, can be described as a survivalist tale. The main character Liv, in a desperate decision to reach a remote town in Canada, takes a plane ride with two strangers who are flying a private aircraft to a place nearby Liv’s destination. Shortly into the flight across the Canadian wilderness the plane experiences mechanical difficulties and crashes through the trees, and a dense brush landing in the middle of a lake. Liv is the only survivor and is left to fend for her own safety and life.
One of the weakest aspects of this limited series is not the visuals, but rather the dialogue and writing of the series. While the writing is not particularly terrible, it does not offer any challenging insights or engrossing plot development to keep the audience interested. Rather, through a sort of the banal point of view, the audience is forced to experience memories of Liv that act as the sole instrument for driving the story forward. The audience experiences more development of the story through Liv’s memories of the past than they do of her current present of being stranded in the wilderness.
This stylistic choice of storytelling by the writers is ultimate to the limited series’s own detriment which would benefit greatly from focusing on Liv’s present situation and could offer a story with a far larger potential of captivating the audience. This series in all actuality is less of a survival tale and more of a drama based on overcoming one’s own personal demons and trauma from the past.
‘Keep Breathing’: The Strength Of Human Spirit
‘Keep Breathing,’ overall, is a series that is based on the idea of self-perseverance, even against highly uncertain odds. This is one of the few aspects of the series that is done quite well. There are times when Liv’s actions are extremely confusing, as in one episode when she takes a floating log out in the middle of a lake for no apparent reason. This action is made particularly questionable as in the first episode, Liv demonstrates an extremely strong swimming ability. Despite the audience’s uncertainty about the motivations behind her character’s actions, her reasoning is immediately made clear to the viewer and it serves as a foundation of trust between the mystery of why Liv acts the way that she does, and how it eventually aids in keeping her alive.
This element of suspense that is ingrained within the series, at times proves to be its most excellent quality, and yet consistently these traits of the series that come close to touching greatness are eventually bogged down by another part that displays nothing more than poor attention to detail.
In this same scene, which essentially is meant to be emblematic of Liv’s personal strength and courage, the sound that is used taints the entire sense of verisimilitude that exists and is completely inaccurate and incongruous. The sound used to mimic water is so disorienting, that it takes the viewer out of the intensity of the action and leads them to question how a series could ever allow such an erroneous and imprecise feature within a show. Sadly, despite the well-implemented theme of survival, this series contains numerous pitfalls that diminish its overall quality.
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Overall Analysis and Critique
‘Keep Breathing,’ is a series that struggles to contain and hold the audience’s attention. In summation, it is not entirely terrible. It contains acting performances and storyline development that are out of the ordinary. Although, it would seem as if it is too convoluted and has been marketed as something that it is not. This series is not one that focuses entirely on the protagonist’s desperate attempt to survive. Rather, survival seems far too easy for the main character Liv. She is able to create fire on her first day, able to find and purify water, as well as discovering a safe non-poisonous food source.
This series has made the main character’s survival as convenient as possible in order to drive the story forward. There are no setbacks, besides the initial plane crash, and Liv at times appears perfectly at ease stranded in the barren wilderness. This series strays too far from a true representation of reality, and it is for this reason that it loses all sense of what its true message is. Instead, ‘Keep Breathing,’ is satisfied with building the character of Liv through its overuse of flashbacks. This series is not merely about one’s physical survival, but is moreso about overcoming the trauma of one’s past. This is an entirely different form of survival and by placing too much importance upon the past, this show loses the audience that it was deliberately seeking to attract.
Producers: Colin Bright, Brendan Gall, Martin Gero, Maggie Kiley, Taja Perkins, Iturri Sosa | Cinematographers: Jon Joffin, Alicia Robbins | Editors: Mike Banas, Lizzy Calhoun, Tammis Chandler, Ian Mayberry
By Thomas Jacobs
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Thomas Jacobs is an avid writer, Cinema aficionado, and filmmaker. He graduated with Dean’s Honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a major in Film and Digital Media. His passion is directly tied to the appreciation and creation of film and television, and this fact is reflected in his intent to be a writer for the acclaimed entertainment journal, The Hollywood Insider. His beliefs mirror the core goals and mission statement of The Hollywood Insider by sharing an admiration for quality entertainment as well as bolstering a sense of positivity and equality among all humans. Thomas believes that Cinema is an advantageous promoter of civil and social empowerment, and he shares a mutual societal view with The Hollywood Insider, that people should not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.