Netflix released Somos season 1, a six-episode long series based on a true story about a horrific massacre in the Mexican town of Allende in 2011. The series is conceptualized after Ginger Thompson’s 2017 oral history ‘How the U.S. Triggered a Massacre in Mexico.’ Somos season 1 is directed by the Oscar-nominated screenwriter and producer James Schamus. The Netflix series has been a Hollywood twist regardless of it being based on true events.
Unlike many other shows on drugs and crime, Somos season 1 does not glamourize the trade. James Schamus has tried to portray the parallel story to its truest form. The real story of the massacre will send shivers down the spine and so does Somos season 1. It begins with a shootout in Allende and then the story goes back to three months before the massacre.
Allende is a regular Mexican town with just regular people going about their business. However, in the darkness lurks the devil. The town is a centre for a powerful drug cartel called Zetas. Thompson’s report states astonishing testimonies of how the drug cartel tore through Allende and massacred at least 300 people. They destroyed their homes and burned down their businesses. Somos season 1 tells us that the massacre was triggered due to the involvement of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the United States.
A Slowly Webbed Storyline
However many reports state the involvement of the people of Allende in the drug trade, the corrupt law enforcement of the town, and the power-hungry cartel are to be blamed for the bloodshed. Schamus used unprofessional actors for half of the roles for Somos season 1 to give a grounding feeling to the story. His John-Sayes style of making the fictionalized version of Somos season 1 is almost as sad as the real story.
Some of the notable actors are Jimena Pagaza as Nancy who is a high schooler. She is a high-spirited girl who plays football and is quite outspoken. Pagaza brings authenticity to the character regardless of not being a professional. Another character that you will appreciate is Doña Chayo played by Mercedes Hernández, a strong-willed mother who will do anything to protect her family.
The series begins by showing different storylines of people living in Allende. We don’t see a clear-cut connection between them until the end. We are also shown the Zetas cartel goons rounding up guns at a prison which is the beginning of the massacre. All the characters are intertwined together. Someone is someone else’s friend, a family member, and so on. Schamus’s storytelling style of letting the day-to-day things happen is undeniably the best part about Somos season 1. The way he has built up the horrific climax of the massacre by showing the normal lives of the people who we know are going to die at the end is just beautiful.
The Western Look
Somos season 1 sets the western picture in a slow-paced manner. A ranch and a ranch owner unwilling to give up his land, a saloon where men in cowboy hats come to drink, and a brothel where young women have to deal with awful men. Then there is the rich villain who is behind all the kidnapping and murder and a good, hardworking man who is trying to do his job but gets mixed up with the bad crowd.
As the story goes forward, you can sense that something ghastly is going to happen even if you are unaware of the true story. The creators did not want to overplay the death and destruction so you will not see any major violence on screen. Ten years after the horrible massacre of hundreds and hundreds of people in Allende, Somos season 1 is the perfect way to tell their story. You might even find yourself crying as it ends. Somos season 1 is a heart-wrenching series based on a horrifying true story.
You can watch Somos season 1 on Netflix.