The much hyped White Lines from Netflix landed on our screens on Friday 15 May and it’s fair to say that the response has been ‘mixed’.
Ibiza has rarely fared well on the big or small screen, the warts and all documentary ‘Ibiza Uncovered’ in the late 90s opened the flood gates that has seen many try (and nearly all fail) to capture the magic of the White Isle.
Leaving all the art house stuff aside, the only 2 movies I can remember ticking any boxes with clarity were Harry Enfield’s comic ‘Kevin and Perry Go Large’ and ‘It’s all gone Pete Tong’ with Paul Kaye playing a DJ going deaf. The rest who’ve tried to cash in have usually come up short because even though they started with good intentions they got dragged in to focus on the cliches rather than characters.
The bad news is that White Lines falls through the the same trap door but the good news is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, quite the opposite. Set in an Ibiza you certainly won’t recognise it centres on the mysterious death of a Manchester promotor 20 years previously and his unhinged sister’s search for the truth
If you’re a White Island aficionado then it will evoke many emotions. If you’re looking for a gritty Ibiza drama/travelogue then you will be bitterly disappointed as it was mostly shot in Mallorca and it’s about as relevant to Ibiza as a wet January weekend in Skegness however if you can come to terms with the fact that Ibiza is purely a tool in a farcical plot then it’s really rather enjoyable tosh to watch.
The sets are sumptuous and the landscape beautiful but it ain’t Ibiza so anyone with a good knowledge of the Island might feel short changed and the Manchester accents are woeful at times but this adds to the proceedings rather than detract from them.
The comic Calafat dynasty at the centre are like a fictional lightweight Corleone clan with a flirty matriarch who doesn’t think twice about masturbating a priest to get her own way while Andreu the head of the family mourns his dead dog with all the emotion of a man suffering from latter stage dementia. The conniving son Oriol (who’s so bad he’s spellbinding) is more shallow than a puddle of rainwater and Kika the good time, rebel sister with no money but a good heart used to be the girlfriend of the irritating murdered Manc with a dodgy Moss Side accent.
Boxer, the family’s security guard/enforcer is there as a bit of eye-candy for the girls with his Fawlty Towers Spanish accent and cheeky chappy Spanglish. Throw in some rich hippies, a comic little and large Rumanian drug dealing duo, a cocaine sniffing dog, a not-so-holy priest, a hint of incest and, as you can see, it’s so ludicrous it’s entertaining. This is Footballers Wives territory.
More cliches than a political party conference, more wood than a carpenters workshop and more cheese than a thousand burger stands but hey, this is fictional TV playing to the masses, nobody said it had to be a true representation and creator Alex Piña, who made his name with the critically acclaimed ‘Money Heist’ doesn’t hold back and obviously/hopefully had a grin on his face as he was writing.
The stellar cast draws you in, Daniel Mays is very good as the perennial loser who’s sex-party organising wife (Angela Griffin) has run off with an oily, rich European while Laura Haddock channels her inner Linda Hamilton/Terminator 2 and goes batshit crazy over the death of her unlikeable, full of himself, brother 20 years previously in a performance with more ham than a pig farm on steroids.
In an ever changing world where we have become obsessed with bad news this is nothing more than harmless escapism, blatantly plagiarising the Ibiza name to give it an extra edge and I, for one, haven’t got a problem with it, it’s definitely better than watching the News.
As Ibiza residents we can sometimes take the White Isle a little too seriously but if you leave that at the door then this can give you a few hours of enjoyment bordering on the ridiculous and that’s more than welcome during these troubled times.
White Lines will last in the memory about as long as as one of the aforementioned cheeseburgers but that’s half the fun. Viva Ibiza and all those who are desperate to ride on her coat tails.
Dedicated to Manchester DJ Dave Booth who has sadly left us. “He made us do it”.