What is Totems, Amazon’s beautiful and ambitious spy series worth? (critical)


Thriller thriller in the heart of the Cold War, with a retro chic patina, the new French creation Prime Vidéo enriches the catalog if not revolutionizing the genre.

From the world of intelligence, the amateur public already knew the “legends”, thanks to the Office of Legends, obviously. He is now familiar with the ” Totems “. In other words, the exchanges with foreign services which give their name to this series of espionage marked with the seal of Prime Video.

An ambitious French fiction co-written by Juliette Soubrier (Red Wristbands) and Olivier Dujols (who knows the subject well, having occupied the writing room of the Legends Office). Except that it is here a question of the ancestor of the DGSE, third party in the middle of the enemy blocks of the East and the West, obsessed by the possibilities of the space conquest which could serve their interests in full Cold War.

Here, it is less an insider’s clinical approach than a romantic impulse that guides the authors. Quidams with quiet lives (an aerospace engineer, a pianist, a nurse) find themselves manipulated from all sides to serve interests greater than themselves. Intimate issues rule the story, in the purest tradition of elegant thrillers, innervated by a romantic intrigue, under the influence of Hitchcock (The Chained) with the metronomy of a le Carré. Proceeding on familiar ground, Totems looks more like an exercise in style, the expression of which is even more blatant in the image (the reconstruction of the sets, like the production, chic and reverential). All the actors excel there (Niels Schneider, Vera Kolesnikova, ex-BDL finally in the foreground). If it does not deviate from the marked paths, the series shows great know-how.

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