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Tales From the Loop review: Amazon Prime Video gets very strange, very slow


Technology generally speeds things up to the point where we can feel overwhelmed. But in Tales From the Loop, which is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, mysterious and otherworldly technology slows things down instantly. This slow-burning new series combines tempting weirdness with flawless production – basically it's scary, Indiana meets Chernobyl .

Last year, many were obsessed with HBO's flawless drama about the nuclear disaster of the 1

980s, but still indescribably convincing. Chernobyl was also extremely emotional. Tales From the Loop gives you the mood of HBO's hit show – retro anti-fashion, the feeling of a community living in the shadow of fearsome technology, silent fear – but with a soothing abstract craziness that assures you that this is all fantasy is.

Tales From the Loop takes place in a small town in wintry rural America. Is it the 50's? The 70s? Or the day after tomorrow? If you see an Ingmar Bergman film in a cinema in the background, you get half a clue. Brutalist Soviet-style buildings stand out from the snowy landscape, cold and hard and apathetic like concrete. A schoolgirl stares out of a school window at a listless, humming tower. Silent, curious robots lurk among the trees as mysterious trucks race past. And the city's adults are happily working on the Loop, a mysterious underground research facility.

Each episode tells its own story, which slowly creates a picture of the city and its inhabitants. They are normal people with regular problems in an irregular world. Much of the show is seen through the eyes of the city's children, and in many ways, their parents are as remote, unrecognizable and half-sighted as the technological monoliths that silently protrude from the landscape. Its purpose is unclear. The ensemble of the show, including Jonathan Pryce and Rebecca Hall, is as sparse and remote as the landscapes. There is a lot of silence, lots of thoughtful breaks. All of this adds to the feeling of insecurity, discomfort, and the feeling of not being tied down.

The opening sequence indicates the slow-burning tone, although it feels more like a climatic account than an introduction. We haven't spent enough time with the characters for this opening rate to really land, and it provides answers to questions we haven't asked yet. And be careful with a great spoiler that Amazon accidentally gave away. When you pause or hover your mouse over the screen, Amazon Prime Video's X-ray feature shows you the actors in the scene – handy if you try to remember an actor's name, but in this case it shows the Turn of the episode. [19659009] Tales From the Loop gives the timeless Americana a touch of science fiction.


Tales from the Loop does not descend to Twilight Zone or Black Mirror Gotcha Twist Endings. But scratch under the surface of exquisite production values, ethereal images and haunting music, and you'll quickly see that the show is built on extremely familiar science fiction tropes. Everywhere in the city, outsiders find scary artifacts that reflect their insecurities. Every show based on this anthology-style format must present its own version of these old storylines, and Tales From The Loop has a unique technique: it tells these ancient tropics veeerrrrryyyy slooowwwwwlyyyyy …

Sometimes this pace is icy tempting and absorbing. At other times, it's frustrating. Don't expect connections when storylines emerge – this isn't Westworld packed with twists and turns, and big moments. This is more of a show that you could drift in and out of. You could probably see the episodes in any order. Indeed, due to the dreamy atmosphere and the sometimes obscure storytelling, it feels a bit like getting in and out, as if you weren't sure what was real and what was emerging from your subconscious.

Tales From the Loop follows a fine tradition of craziness in small towns, from Twin Peaks to Eureka, from Round the Twist to Stranger Things . It is a thoughtful exploration of our discomfort with technology that penetrates our homes, is infused with meditative melancholy, and completely seduces the eyes and ears. And very slowly.

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