Maya – | Review Score – 4/5
Custody – | Review Score – 3.5/5
The Funeral – | Review Score – 3/5
The Reconstruction – | Review Score – 4/5
The Trial – | Review Score -4/5
The Witnesses – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Based on the Swedish novel ‘Störst av allt’ by Malin Persson Giolito, Quicksand is a surprisingly well written, absorbing series, one that does an excellent job adapting the novel into one of the best dramas of the year. With two timelines separated through Maja’s flashbacks and one school shooting anchoring everything into place, Quicksand is an easy show to binge and a tough one to put down.
Blood spattered across school tables and the ground set the tone for the series, opening with the aftermath of a shooting and the shell-shocked, 18 year old Maja sitting with the murder weapon by her side. As police grab her and take her into custody, across the 6 episodes we learn of the events leading up to that day involving Maja’s mentally unstable boyfriend Sebastian and all the drama that transpired between the victims inside the classroom. The slow build around all of this paves the way for a really satisfying conclusion to the tale during the climactic finale as Maja’s fate is revealed along with what really happened inside the classroom.
Stylistically, Quicksand looks great too. The cold, grey hue that hangs over the present day scenes contrast nicely with the more saturated colours of the past, showing the difference in Maja’s mental state during these two timelines. As the pieces of the puzzle begin to align themselves, we see the complicated relationships Maja has in her life and especially late on, we begin questioning whether what she’s remembered is really the truth or not. The jumps between both timelines work surprisingly well too with the later episode around the reconstruction of the incident all the more powerful by these jumps back and forth.
It’s a tricky thing to get right too but Quicksand manages to pull it off expertly, keeping you guessing right through to the final moments over what really happened inside the classroom.
For a series like this, the character work is always an important element to get right and thankfully every character in Quicksand is on point for most of the run time. Hanna Ardéhn does an excellent job portraying Maja, with just the right level of wide-eyed stares and tear-stained shock to contrast her more sensitive moments. This is a complex 18 year old girl and you really get the feeling of this while watching. Felix Sandman’s portrayal of Sebastian is worth pointing out too and his mentally unstable, unpredictable demeanor works really well next to Maja’s character.
Quicksand is simply a great example of how to tell a simple story well. With an intense focus on character and a limited array of sets to play with, Quicksand doubles down on its characterisation to weave a compelling, engrossing series that’ll have you hooked right through to the final moments. It’s a rare feat for a series like this to do that too but Quicksand’s unique perspective and short length make this one of the easiest shows to recommend this year. Don’t let the Swedish language put you off, Quicksand is a fantastic series and one of the biggest surprises of the year well worth your time.