A comedy of (very) dramatic, sometimes funny, but mostly heartbreaking.
This is not at all what we expected. And it is surely like it that Ricky Gervais proves, once again, that it is one of the british authors, the most brilliant of the Twenty-first century. After Life, which comes out this Friday on Netflix, is a comedy about a depressive, incredibly dark… and grim.
It has to be said, when the comedian English has signed to develop a series dealing with the dead, on the us platform, we imagined a new satire, cynical, crass and hilarious. A comedy trash, which would go very far on the borders of the politically incorrect, to the image of his show Humanity or of its other series (Extras, Derek, The Office, etc.). In fact, Ricky Gervais has tried something completely different.
After Life tells indeed the painful journey of a quarantenaire, a widower, living in a small English town and working for the little free newspaper in the corner. Tony has just lost his wife, whom he was madly in love with it. Without it, he does not see the interest to continue. But as the dog is still there, and that he must be well fed, Tony did not manage to put an end to his days. Keeping in mind this idea claim that it will end up anyway by committing suicide, he decides to do what pleases him, and to say “fuck” to the whole world…
The starting premise, masterfully bleak, perfectly match the style of the master. Except this time, Ricky Gervais will not use his creative genius to make us laugh, but to make us cry. BecauseAfter Life is first of all a series of dark, on grief, on death, and on what one makes of life. Rarely, one had spoken like that of suicide and depression to the television.
Using the codes of the black comedy, Gervais sign an epic macabre that turns in very unexpected ways into a drama deeply moving. We follow with empathy the incredible evolution of this poor guy, who tries so hard to regain a taste for life. The transition from Tony, in the course of the six episodes ofAfter Life, is admittedly a little predictable, but it is no less exciting. During the three hours that lasts the series, you listen to philosophize and contemplate the meaning of life, at the discretion of encounters also touching that improbable (with a drug addict, a prostitute, her colleagues, her old father…).
Unfortunately, by dint of pulling on the rope-drama, Ricky Gervais penalty to instill the change in comic that he was looking for clearly. Despite the valves that come here and there, in spite of the replica also always assassines, actor, After Life is never really hilarious. Sometimes funny, sometimes biting (the baby Hitler is unpayable !), the series explores still significantly more on the side of tragic. We were rather accustomed to the tartuferie with him. But finally, Ricky Gervais goes beyond the upper-hand.
After Life – on Netflix – 6 episodes, 30 min – exit on Friday 8 march 2019.