April 25, 2024

Sanctuary Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

Sanctuary
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Sanctuary Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

The opening moments of the Netflix series Sanctuary, an often engaging though fleeting story of sumo wrestling, make it abundantly clear what the eight-episode season has in store. In a static shot of a wall that is almost tranquil, the silence is broken by a man being thrown into it over and over again. A rock song kicks in as other men begin taunting him and trying to get him back on his feet. It happens over and over again until the man is bloodied by the beating he is taking. After this carries on for quite a while, he begins to cry. This is revealed to be all a ruse as he subsequently smiles before attempting to turn the tables. He does so by fighting dirty, spitting in the face of his opponent, and headbutting him repeatedly. This is how we’re introduced to Kiyoshi Oze (Wataru Ichinose), who is now going by the name of Enno. In case it wasn’t clear, he is not actually that good at this whole sumo wrestling thing. However, Enno believes this will be the key to turning his life around and finding fame, so he throws himself into competing anyway.

Not to be confused with Sanctuary, the spectacular upcoming film of the same name starring Christopher Abbott and Margaret Qualley, the series is an odd one. Odd is not necessarily bad, but this Sanctuary is quite all over the place. At times deadly serious and more than a bit grim, it is also rather ridiculous to the point of approaching slapstick. Though sumo wrestling has a history dating back hundreds of years, it almost certainly has never been portrayed like this. The series has been referred to as YA, which seems to be an attempt to capture the tone and the immaturity of the humor woven throughout. That being said, there is much that also becomes more overly dour and oddly flippant. Sanctuary is silly to a fault, wearing its more melodramatic elements on its sleeve. At times, one could forget that it is actually about the world of sumo wrestling in the early episodes. When the show becomes caught up in everything — from a date where Enno just can’t play it cool to a sudden reveal of someone in the hospital — you’ll be left wondering what it was supposed to be getting at in the first place. There is a more dark humor playing alongside the more silly elements, but this only serves to pull the series in opposite directions throughout the season. Sanctuary seems to want to authentically reflect the ins and outs of sumo wrestling, though it does so with a bluntness that dulls its impact.

While the narrative leaves quite a lot to be desired in the way of tact, there is still something to be appreciated in the actual fights themselves. There is both a grace and a brutality in each of these sequences. It is this element that makes them so interesting, given how much it takes out of the characters and the toll it can wreak on their bodies. This isn’t just confined to the fights, either, as they must recover from the many scrapes they accumulate as well as the more serious injuries. This is what grounds the series amidst the many more cartoonish elements that are hard to take seriously. From the aforementioned opening scene all the way to the climactic conclusion, the actual wrestling of Sanctuary is the highlight of the whole experience. Although it makes odd use of slow motion that succeeds in being distracting rather than immersive, there is much to be appreciated in how all this is constructed. It’s just a shame that we don’t get more of this talent on display.

Would it be more interesting to watch a documentary about this, one that could really delve into the nuances even more than a fictional series? Possibly, but the strengths of the stunt work do a lot to occasionally lift Sanctuary above the problems it runs into. Where it becomes harder to overlook all the flaws is in the structure of the series overall. It feels both overstretched and underdeveloped, spending a lot of time on its least compelling elements before getting into the professional journey that should have been the real heart of the series. There are subplots that feel like they are just filling time until we can get into the main thrust of the story, which then comes far too late. It reaches a breaking point when the score becomes more than a bit on the nose, playing beneath flashes of memories right before the final fight and even during it. The cliffhanger that follows, unfortunately, is anticlimactic as a result.

It wouldn’t be terrible to get more of Sanctuary by any means, since there is still an admirable commitment to capturing the particulars of this sport. At the same time, there would need to be a serious refocusing on what the show wants to be moving forward in order to avoid the meandering feeling of several episodes. The experience would have been far more engaging had it fully embraced the fights and not all the fluff that surrounded them. When the biggest emotional takeaway from the series is a desire for how much greater it could have been and not what was, it may indeed get viewers to come back for more. The issue that still remains is that the path to get there and the destination that awaits fail to fully capitalize on the show’s potential. Just as its chaotic central character keeps getting back up on his feet in the beginning, the series does manage to push forward into its more intriguing elements. Unfortunately, the promise in Sanctuary’s premise goes unfulfilled. Much like its underdog of a protagonist, it gets tossed around too many times to leave any sort of lasting impression.

Sanctuary Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online