TV review: Undone, Amazon Prime Video
- Brian Donaldson
- 13 September 2019
Innovative animated comedy-drama about mental health and an unsolved murder
There doesn't seem to be any good reason why the action of Undone was filtered through the animated rotoscope process. Except to make it look really nice and for the producers (the folk behind BoJack Horseman) to launch a marketing campaign about the first full TV series to be made through rotoscope.
We've seen this technique before, most notably in Richard Linklater's film work, and here it sets a prescient tone of discombobulation as the thin line between reality and fantasy are stepped along and over by our lead character. Alma (Rosa Salazar) is a nursery-school assistant whose father (Bob Odenkirk) died in mysterious circumstances when she was a little girl. Life is even more fuzzy for her given that she needs to wear a hearing aid looped around her left ear, and we are welcomed into this sensory-deprived world from time to time.
Alma is involved in a car crash as the series begins, with her attention to the road diverted when her dad appears to her in a vision. But his visitations don't stop there, with it becoming evident that he wants his daughter to help crack the case of his unsolved murder. This cues a Groundhog Day / Russian Doll-style loop as Alma's interactions with her soon-to-be wed sister, permanently disappointed mother, bow-tie wearing workmate and patient partner Sam (Siddharth Dhananjay) become ever more challenging as she finds herself being flung around fantastical environments that seem to approximate the experience of having an LSD trip on a Studio Ghibli set.
Gently amusing and occasionally moving, this is as much an important story of a woman's history of mental illness as it is about the stylistic techniques that will keep you entranced and bamboozled as Undone's mystery unravels.
Episodes watched: 3 of 8
Undone is available on Amazon Prime Video, Friday 13 September