Instant Kino: Episode 003

Amazon Original Series: “You Are Wanted”

Americans got a rare taste of German media when SundanceTV was the first network to pick up an original run German seres with its broadcast of the Cold War drama Deutschland 83. While the show’s reach was limited by its channel subscriber base, it proved to be enough of a hit to bring it back for another season due out in 2018.

Now Netflix and Amazon are throwing their hats into the ring as both streaming services are adding their own original German content in a push to grab more of the global market.

Netflix just recently teased their upcoming supernatural thriller Dark, and its brief trailer has many calling it the German Stranger Things. With its release not scheduled until sometime next winter, Amazon is coming in to offer a worthy alternative, with its thriller You Are Wanted. I got an early look at the series, out March 17 to all Amazon Prime subscribers, and let me start by saying this show is destined to become a hit.

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YOU ARE WANTED

Thriller | TV Series | 2017 | 6 Episodes ・ AMAZON PRIME

You Are Wanted wastes no time getting started as Lukas Franke (Matthias Schweighöfer), a young and successful manager at a swanky hotel, finds himself the target of a mysterious hacker who quickly turns his life upside down. Every digital device he owns becomes tools for the hacker, including the use of the cameras which capture raw and sensitive material that proves this is no joke.

Any attempts to out smart or stop the hacker only makes things worse, and Lukas is soon made aware that if he doesn’t follow his hacker’s every instruction, his wife and son will become the targets of a more serious crime.

As if his luck couldn’t get any worse, Lukas finds himself the lead suspect in a series of eco-terrorism plots. German BKA agents, the equivalent of the FBI, bring an investigation against Lukas with incriminating evidence that shows his hacker truly is one of the best. As more of the plan unfolds, the deeper the connections go, and you’ll begin to realize that the hacker is only one piece of this crazy puzzle.

Lukas not only has to struggle with carrying out the hacker’s demands, but must fight to prove his innocence. His friends and family, including his wife Hannah (Alexandra Maria Lara), begin calling Lukas’ hacking claims and innocence into question as “evidence” to counter his explanations make it seem like a battle he just can’t win. He soon discovers that the only way out of the game is to play it.

While carrying out one of his hacker’s early demands, Lukas is brought face to face with an earlier victim, Lena (Karoline Herfurth), who offers to work with Lukas to bring this hacker down and restore their lives he took away.

 

Most German shows have a difficult time translating for a global audience, and thankfully You Are Wanted does not suffer that fate. Amazon is offering viewers the choice of watching it in German with subtitles or an English dub. While I personally prefer subtitles over dubs, this was a smart choice for Amazon as it allows the show to reach the larger number of viewers who cower at the thought of reading dialogue. The dubbing is almost seamless, and at times viewers will barely notice it at work.

You Are Wanted doesn’t scream GERMANY, and it shouldn’t. In fact, viewers may be seeing a side of Germany that isn’t Oktoberfest, beer and Nazi’s for the first time. The foreign aspect here is minimal and allows viewers in the US and around the globe to enjoy the edge of your seat thriller for what it is… fantastic!

Matthias Schweighöfe, who not only leads as Lukas, but also directors the show, has had a very successful career in Germany, and with You Are Wanted, you will see why. In fact, it would be hard to find fault in the performances of any of the lead cast, including the young Franz Hagn, who plays Lukas’ son Leon. Through the acting and what seems to be a solid script, you’ll easily find yourself drawn into the mystery and will start to question who’s side of the story is the one to believe.

Whether or not this solid direction can carry throughout all of the episodes remains to be seen, but I will update this review where it is necessary upon the show’s full public release on March 17. If it can sustain the mystery and suspense, it should be a clear hit.

There is one possible downside of the release that has nothing to do with the story, acting or production of You Are Wanted itself. Whether or not it becomes a hit in the US falls in the hands of Amazon. The company has put very little effort into promoting the show to its American users. Do a search for its trailer and all you’ll find is the one posted to its German YouTube page in German and with no English subtitles. Look the show up on IMDb, owned by Amazon, and you will find the same result. With the amount of work they did with making sure there are English subtitles and even an English dub, I have to wonder why they aren’t putting an equal effort towards promoting it to their largest audience.

Regardless of whether Amazon decides to make their American subscribers aware of the show, it is still exciting to see a new wave of original German content becoming accessible through these global releases. Especially content that proves German stories don’t have to be about WWII in order for it to become a hit. Amazon’s release of You Are Wanted is a promising start in this effort. If you want to spend the evening on the edge of your seat, give this show a shot. I’m confident you won’t be disappointed.

Watch the Trailers

SERIES SCORE

8.6

OUT OF 10

Score based on advance series preview of first two episodes

STORY
9
Pacing
9
Acting
8
Provoking
8
Entertaining
9