Curon is an Italian series written with eight (!) hands from Ezio Abbate, Ivano Fachin, Giovanni Galassi and Tommaso Matano, produced and distributed by Netflix.
Curon opens with a flashback: a girl looks shocked at the killing of her mother, shot to death with a shotgun. The even bigger shock comes when the murderer turns to shoot her too and she realizes that they are identical. But before another bullet starts from the rifle, the assassin is tackled by the girl's father, who, upset, falls to the ground unconscious.
17 years have passed and Anna (Valeria Bilello), the flashback girl, is fleeing Milan to avoid being tracked by her ex-husband. With her are the two twin children Daria (Margherita Morchio) and Mauro (Federico Russo): Daria is rather irritated at the idea of leaving her life behind to indulge her mother, Mauro, on the other hand, is more proactive and perhaps a bit like a mother's coconut, so she doesn't complain much. The family is headed to Graun, a very suggestive town in Trentino, which has the peculiarity of being entirely submerged. The old town in fact lies on the bottom of the Reschensee and the last trace of its existence is the bell tower, stripped of its bells, which stands out like a lighthouse in the ocean. The village was rebuilt upstream of the basin and it is there that Anna's family managed a prestigious hotel, now in disuse. Anna's plan is to permanently settle there, but her father Thomas (Luca Lionello) immediately makes it clear that this is not an option, and that the three will have to leave the following morning.
Obviously nobody listens to him and as a consequence a series of very bad things begin to happen, not only to mother and children, but also to the rest of the country.
From here on, the series follows in parallel the mundane aspects of mountain life and the mysteries that lurk in the hotel, which seem related in some way to the lake, or perhaps to the old town that ended up under it.
The staging is very convincing, surely having shot the series in the real Curon Venosta has benefited: they are shown few well-characterized interiors and lots of mountains and both feed a certain atmosphere of isolation and mystery. There isn't much to say about the light in the outside sequences, other than that a low budget Italian series managed to handle filming in the dark better than the last season of Game of Thrones, but the interiors also give the impression of being very naturally illuminated, which helps to build up the voltage when the bulbs start to blow. The flashbacks are characterized by the classic filter a little between overexposed and sepia, but it works and does not bother too much.
The acting is of a good standard, we rarely see people going over the top or gigioneggia, and if the adults offer excellent performances, young people defend themselves, especially the two protagonists, but nobody stands out for demerits. Luca Lionello in particular steals the scene every time he appears on the screen. Fortunately, the actors are helped by a functional direction, with some interesting and inspired shots, and also by a rather solid script. The construction of the dialogues is mostly very natural, it is often easy to imagine how one of the characters will respond to a certain sentence or situation. The use of scurrilous interjections can help a lot in this sense, but at times we have the impression that they are used "a lot per kilo" to reach a certain quota of "cocks" per hour. The chemistry between the two brothers is palpable and interactions with Curon's other kids almost never result in excessive or embarrassing. The relationship between mother and children is also multifaceted and not trivial.
The story itself is nothing that we have not already seen, but it is told in a coherent and gradual way: there is no discontent and it must not have been an easy result to obtain for a text written by four different people. It is strange to see how much in 2020 Twin Peaks is still such a central influence for many works and Curon is no exception: the search for that almost worldly emotion, combined with a mystery that seems inconceivable and elusive is carried out competently and also offers some food for thought, not necessarily revolutionary but interesting, on identity and what it means to be "socialized".
Curon is a rather ambitious project for Italian television and it is another step towards the quality that too often has been lacking in local productions. Unfortunately it goes to clash with other titans of the genre on Netflix: Dark and Stranger Things just to name two. The first objectively more successful from every point of view, and the second much more pop but definitely more accessible and with a much higher budget. The season finale suggests that there are no plans for a sequel, but the open ending of the seventh and final episode is also disturbing and satisfying at the right point. In essence a well done series, which does not give the impression of being an amateur production, nor a homework to take home and I hope it is not the last project of this type made in our country.