Wrong Side of the Tracks review: Strong performances push the gritty characters

Wrong Side of the Tracks follows Tirso Abantos as he tries to protect his granddaughter, Irene, after she gets embroiled in a mess with the local gangster, Sandro.

Story

The neighbourhood of Entrevías has been facing problems due to the rising number of drug peddlers on the streets.

War veteran Tirso Abantos (José Coronado) is not happy with the worsening quality of the neighbourhood. He’s managed to broker peace with the situation as he lives alone in his apartment and runs a hardware store in the neighbourhood.

But, things get tricky when one day he finds out that his granddaughter, Irene (Nona Sobo), has gotten involved with the local drug network. Irene’s plan to run away with her boyfriend, Nelson, fails miserably and the drugs belonging to the local gangster, Sandro, end up in Tirso’s hands through Irene.

Sandro’s man in the uniform, Ezequiel Luis (Zahera), tries his best to retrieve the drugs, but Tirso is not an easy man to convince. He’s a battle-hardened war veteran who knows the tricks of the trade and fears nobody.

As Ezequiel manages to maintain peace with all the factions involved, the situation goes downhill pretty fast as the temperament is of fickle nature in the neighbourhood of Entrevías.

Performances

José Coronado leads the mantle among a set of character-driven performances through his gritty portrayal of a war veteran who has his own ideas of the world which are, frankly, not very flexible. He dominates the screen and can evoke the love-hate relationship that viewers may share with his character.

Nono Sobo, as the rebel teenager Irene, reflects the turbulence endured by teenagers of her age quite aptly. She has quite an emotional graph available to toy with and she utilizes it very well.

Luis Zahera brings his character to life with an endearing and honest portrayal of a corrupt police officer who works for the devil but still treads a fine line when it comes to morally contentious subjects. Zahera’s adaptability to fit into the changing situations his character faces is commendable.

Felipe Londoño does a decent job but there was enough potential in his character to achieve more than what he actually ends up doing.

Laura Ramos brings her charm to the screen in every scene she graces. She adds fun to the gritty world of Entrevías and materialises the migrant struggle through her performance.

While Franky Martin does not bring the most intimidating antagonist to the table, he still carves out his character creatively and keeps the flavour required to make the viewer persist. Manolo Caro and Manuel Tallafé, the peculiar friends of Tiros, make quite the fun group of buds to hang out with.

Positives

The series takes the viewer on a long journey and the detailed world-building makes sure the on-looker feels at home beyond a point. Familiarity is created through repeat character encounters in the same places and the various locations become an intrinsic part of the story.

Violence is expended carefully throughout the series even when the setting provides ample opportunities for violence and murder to be exploited for their shock value.

The story is layered with many arcs coming together to bring a coherent storyline. Adding to the detailed storyline, the many conflicts that arise within the story add greater believability to the world of the series. Racism, migrant crisis, teenage struggle, drug abuse, and mental health all find their well-deserved spot in the world of Entrevías.

The nuanced storytelling is a definite strength backed by the brilliant, intelligent and remarkably witty dialogues.

Negatives

The characters are fickle and sometimes their decisions are questionable within the context of their knowledge about what’s happening around them. The events do not always pan out convincingly and that compromises the realism.

Some threads could have been avoided to make it a crispier storyline. The long episodes could have benefitted from this creative choice.

On multiple occasions, the characters tend to develop a kind of linear behavioural pattern where it becomes predictable how each character will behave. For a story with characters having diverse highs and lows in their emotional graph, this becomes a dulling aspect.

While the series concerns itself with prevalent racism, mental health issues and drug abuse, it does not necessarily bother to set the record straight. The issues are portrayed but never addressed with concern.

Verdict

The series takes patience to get into. But once the testing phase gets over, the rewards are plenty to fetch. The characters are strong backed by stronger performances and the world created is interesting to invest into. There are few occasions when the series tends to lose the plot but saves itself by a small margin.

At its strongest, the neighbourhood of Entrevías provides fertile ground for the characters to explore the complex relationships and the compelling storyline.

Rating: 3.5/5


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