Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3/5
Devotion, A Story of Love and Desire is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a 6 episode Italian series tackling the trials and tribulations of a married couple who find themselves torn between love and desire.
A questionable incident early on soon spirals into the pair re-evaluating their entire life choices, leading to a fractious series that swings between keeping the couple in question together – or dividing them.
The ensuing result is a series that has some highlights, but largely falls by the wayside without much aplomb – or much to say that hasn’t been done better elsewhere.
The most obvious comparison is going to be HBO’s Scenes From A Marriage, but this show takes a much more linear and somewhat predictable turn, despite an ambiguous ending.
The story centers on a couple who seem to have it all figured out. Charming Carlo is a professor at a school in Milan. He’s well-respected by his peers and students alike. He also moonlights as a writer too, although he clearly has writer’s block.
Meanwhile, Margherita is a realtor but ends up falling in love with the apartment she’s supposed to be selling.
At the end of episode 1, an incident involving Carlo and one of his students, Sofia, opens the floodgates for distrust, lies and desire to take over.
Carlo and Margherita soon find themselves navigating murky waters, unsure what they really want in their lives. This will they/won’t they tease continues across the 6 episodes, splitting the run-time between both characters and their respective journeys.
While Carlo and Sofia spend more time together, Margherita ends up befriending her massage therapist, Andrea. It’s a pretty obvious set-up and the show has glimmers of brilliance, that all too often is squashed by a strange directional choice that takes away from the drama.
In episode 3, for example, Margherita and Carlo end up having a blazing row at home. Only, the camera pans out and shows a window between them, overlaying that with a pop track as we watch them argue with exaggerated hand movements.
One can’t help but feel an approach like Scenes from a Marriage, complete with all the venomous wrath and nasty comments to one another, would have felt much more impactful than what’s here.
The show also has issues with its pacing too, especially during some of the middle chapters. Episode 4 in particular is a big culprit of this and some of the subplots and storylines could have been tightened up a bit.
The aforementioned music though is a big hindrance too. Given the subject material tackles ideas around marriage, unfaithfulness, desire and anger, there’s a weird dissonance between this subject matter and some of the tracks chosen for montages.
However, for every moment that doesn’t work, there’s another that sparkles. Late on, Carlo and Margherita liken their situation to “musicians on the titanic that keep playing while going down” and it’s such an accurate and spot-on quote for what this show portrays that the writers deserve props for including this.
And that ultimately sums up Devotion: A Story of Love and Desire; this is a show of moments. There’s a lot of drawn out melodrama and wasted potential, propped up by a few cracking moments and stand-out scenes.
This isn’t a bad show, and it’s certainly easy to sink in and out of, but it’s unlikely to be something that sticks with you when the final credits roll.
Verdict - 6/10