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Why it’s time to Get Down. Netflix new TV show explores the birth of hip hop

Has Netflix always been this good? I’m sure it’s been good but has it been THIS GOOD?

Netflix has been pretty rad at the moment. “Stranger Things” was rad, “Little Prince” was rad and now “The Get Down” …*heart palpitations* was awesome.

I just want to take the time to appreciate the excellency, that is “The Get Down”. Yes, it is Baz and Baz is known to be annoying and all up in everyone’s face but this, The Get Down is one of my favourite things to come out this year (along with Stranger Things). It is surprisingly subdued, awesomely edited and the Soundtrack… So much fire! I literally got up and started shaking my groove thang (not well).

Baz is renowned for his huge classic Hollywood style of storytelling, with very little time for character development and authentic emotion. The Get Down, though bold and still Baz-ish in its editing, is real in its characterization. You can and do fall in love with the characters. Their small complexities and authenticity.

Costuming is stunning and has made me want to repurpose my converse and corduroy. The setting is visionary and electric; a visual representation of the madness that is the 70s. The only thing that is lacking is story, which can at times seem fairly convoluted. It has a busy timeline. The New York Times was harsh in its review:

“But anyone looking for the slightest touch of reality or historical resonance in “The Get Down” hasn’t watched enough Baz Luhrmann. Few filmmakers are as closed off from the day-to-day world as Mr. Luhrmann, whose ideas and choices all seem to come from the world of old movies — particularly old musicals, and most particularly “West Side Story.” In “The Get Down,” he takes that film’s strivers, spitfires and gang bangers, moves them a few miles north and repurposes them as rappers, drug dealers and disco queens.”

But anyone who has seen West Side Story knows that it is essentially an appropriated Romeo and Juliet. And The Get Down is not that. There is nothing that reflects racial tension between Puerto Ricons and White Americans. In fact our lead is half Puerto Ricon half African American. There are rival teams. But no rival gangs (so to speak). No Star-crossed lovers, or opposing families. This is an origin story and poignant one at that.

My only real objection is the choice of directors. Baz Luhrman is a white Australian who may not understand the nuances and experience of an African American growing up in the Bronx. Trying to understand or represent the feelings of the time isn’t the same as knowing them. And so Baz may have done a Baz and totally missed the mark. But, just like Baz I can’t begin to understand nor can I comment. And I think the only review that really matters is those of the people who grew up in such a time, and experienced what it was like firsthand.

What The Get Down is, is a: great story, fun, complex characters and the ability to transport us to an era and context that may previously been overlooked.

If you want a fun, musical, exciting story then it’s time to Get Down.

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