3% (Netflix)

3% is a Brazilian, dystopian thriller series created by Pedro Aguilera, starring Bianca Comparato and João Miguel. The show is set in a future wherein people are given a chance to go to the "better side" of a world divided between progress and affluence in the Offshore, and devastation and poverty in the Inland, but only 3% of the candidates succeed. Developed from a 2009 independent pilot episode, it is Netflix's first original Brazilian production and the second produced in Latin America, after Club de Cuervos.

I came to this series by way of two recommendations.  Netflix and a friend.  Since I watch a lot of foreign language films,  they both thought I would enjoy this series (Netflix is pretty smart).  As you read the summary above, you might think its a bit interesting or similar to so many other movies or shows of earths segregation after some sort of disaster (mostly zombies but not this one thank goodness).  So I took the time to look at the episodes one by one.  First, a couple of take aways i got from the series. This was a very diverse cast.  Brazil consist of so many different cultures and races that it really represented the true people of the country.  This I believe gave this story a very broad appeal if you wanted to relate to the characters.  Then, it was the conscience approach to show how the separation of the 3% isn't based on color, race or religion.  But intelligence and the ability to contribute to the greater cause offshore. This was what the 3% of the choosen had to accomplish so they could move to the sacred offshore island.  That my friend kept me interested with where this was going.

To give you a reference point.  This was similar to the Hunger games or Divergent.  A battle to be the choosen or be the elite but in a mysteries way that wasn't clearly defined.  Biggest difference is not having to kill each other and not having a main character with some special appeal or power.  Th only thing you had to have was cleverness and intelligence.  It made it a worth while series to watch.  Even though people were being killed during the process, it didn't focus on that.  It had you thinking what was next for the qualifying teams and what had to be done to become the top 3%. One aspect of technology that was crucial to the story line was, In order for the 3% facility people to know who was selected and who the candidates were. Each person had a identification chip implanted behind their ears that had their complete information about them and you could tell when the individuals were scanned.  This is important because one of the story lines we find out is, like most other forced segregated societies,  their are rebels that are against the 3% process.  We see rebels trying to infiltrate the 3% process to destroy it and how the offshore militia are sent on shore to combat them.  Buuuut theres' also another plan that slowly comes to fruition as you watch the series. We find that their are some covert rebel operatives applying for the 3%. We find these characters struggling to maintain their cover throughout the testing period and try to get to the end to execute the ultimate plan.    And to make things a bit more interesting, within the 3% society, they're people within the Offshore government that wants to take over the 3% facility to make it a better functional place.  You begin to realize you are watching the internal as well as external battle within the offshore organization and at the same time you are watching the onshore people trying to become the chosen 3%.

Here is the great part i was totally into.  There are tests the candidates have to take that are mostly mental and requires them to work at times as individuals and other times as teams.  Depending on the situation, the teams have to rely on the weakest physical person or the strongest minded person.  They create an interesting mental game that kind of pulls you in and wonder what you would do.  There is violence but mostly mental fatigue and ethical dilemmas that has you wondering who will get through.  There is a real interesting character they placed within the mix of the challenge.  We are presented with a young man in a wheel chair that qualified to be part of the 3% enrollment.  You automatically think this can't work, he can not physically get through this.  Well, you see what he and the team goes through and realize what actually happens. This was a very good way of adding physically challenged people to an alleged physical challenge.

Overall this is a very good series worth seeing as well as experiencing.  Netflix gave the show a one-season order with an 8-episode first season. César Charlone, an Academy Award nominated cinematographer known for City of God and Blindness, served as director alongside Daina Giannecchini, Dani Libardi, and Jotagá Crema. The second season is confirmed.  I'm a big foreign language movie guy so I went with the subtitles.  Their is a dubbed english version  but it reminds me of the old Japanese Kung Fu movies.  The cadence and flow of the show doesn't even feel right with the dubbed version.  But I have to say, worth seeing.