Matteo Messina Denaro
World’s Most Wanted is another crime documentary series from Netflix with stellar archival footage and an interesting tone. As one may deduce from the title, World’s Most Wanted is all about the world’s most wanted criminals and the authorities desperate to bring these men and women to justice. Only, as the series continues it becomes clear that’s there’s no black and white in this hunt. Instead, World’s Most Wanted revels in that murky grey area between right and wrong. This ultimately makes for quite the emotionally stirring series and that’s only exacerbated by some pretty graphic and shocking imagery.
Each episode introduces a nefarious wanted man (or woman as is the case with episode 3) and breaks down their crimes in detail. From here, we shift across to the perspective of the authorities as they work tirelessly to track down and bring these criminals to justice. Only, as has been the case numerous times over, these guys are slippery as hell and manage to elude capture time and again.
This series wastes little time getting right to the meat of the drama either, beginning with the drug cartels in Mexico and hopping across the globe to hone in on another nefarious criminal. Throughout the 45 minute long episodes are the usual array of archival footage, face to face interviews and rare interviews that make this such a fascinating watch. However, it’s also another of those series that tonally feels very similar to what we’ve seen a number of times before on Netflix.
That’s not a bad thing of course, but it is telling that Netflix have raised the bar so high that it’s hard to reach that gold standard every time. After all, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Alongside a dozen or so other similar series about criminals and gangs, World’s Most Wanted struggles to stand out. Instead, the series doubles down on its emotionally stirring visuals and archival footage.
To set your expectations in check, 15 minutes into the opening episode are shots of drug users passed out while their children are either in the back of a car or frantically pleading with their parents to wake up. It’s shocking, upsetting and oftentimes emotionally stirring. This is ultimately the one thing World’s Most Wanted has going for it but one has to wonder whether there’s a little too much of this across the five episodes – it was certainly a difficult one to binge that’s for sure.
World’s Most Wanted is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a solid Netflix documentary series about the world’s most wanted criminals. It’s well-paced, chock full of informative discussions and ticks all the usual boxes you’d expect. However, it also does little to really branch out beyond the expectations of this genre.
Instead, what we get is a pretty good series that’s definitely worth a watch but not one you’ll return to in a hurry when you’re done with it.
Verdict - 7/10