The Netflix Polish series Feedback is a daunting tale of addiction. It starts as a crime drama, but it gradually delves into a darker reality. While the ending is impactful, the pace hinders the engagement of the audience. The writing creates a sense of confusion, and the social issues introduced are not explored to their full potential. At the center of the drama, we have Marcin Kania, an alcoholic who refuses to change himself, and it is his arrogance that results in the collapse of the world he belongs to. The constant first-person narrative is intriguing at first, but it eventually becomes jarring as the series unfolds.
Marcin Kania’s memory cannot be trusted, and it plays a significant role in the investigation of his son’s sudden disappearance. Since the series is narrated from the point of view of the central character, we are left to wonder how much of his version can be trusted. Glimpses of Marcin’s past are gradually introduced to build an idea of the character and we find out how his actions have impacted his relationship with his family. It is important to question the authenticity of the narrator when we are constantly told that he is not a man to be trusted. The first time the trust of the audience is broken is when Marcin visits his therapy group acquaintance, Jadzia, at the hospital and asks her to remember the faces of the people who assaulted her. The disappointment and disgust on Jadzia’s face act as a clue to the puzzle for the audience. The confusion is tactfully created by allowing the most dishonest man to tell the story, and that, up to a point, works in favor of the series. The problem lies in the writing, especially in how the past and the present are blended. The disjointed storytelling is difficult to get past while watching Feedback.
In the first four episodes, we watch Marcin Kania dig deep to find out the truth behind his son’s disappearance. He was convinced that there was a larger conspiracy that involved a tenants’ organization and the reprivatization mafia. Marcin was the last person Piotrek met the night he went missing. While his son spoke about his inner turmoil, Marcin did not pay attention to it. He was busy thinking about his next drink instead of supporting Piotrek when he needed it the most. With time, Marcin started to remember fragments of their conversation. He was reminded of how scared Piotrek was the last time they met, and he started to join the bits and pieces of his memory to form a narrative. Marcin was certain that he was chased by men in black clothes and masks, and he held on to the belief that his son got involved with the wrong group of people. Marcin wanted to become the savior, and it was only in the final episode that he realized that he was the one who needed saving. The investigation takes away too much of our attention, and the convoluted narrative only leads to confusion. The last episode helps in rounding up the plot and resolves the issues that were introduced. We get a clear picture of what transpired on the night of Piotrek’s disappearance and also learn about Marcin’s role in it.
Centered around an addict, Feedback brings forth the frustration of family members. There is a constant desire to trust their father or husband, yet the trust is repeatedly broken with false promises. Hate and love are two sides of the same coin, and as much as they expressed their disappointment in Marcin, deep down, they always hoped for a change. Marcin’s perspective brings forth the blurry world of an alcoholic. From faded memory to aggression towards his loved ones and the compulsive need to deceive, Marcin was not in control of himself, and at times, we were simply cluelessly watching the world around him fall apart. We also get a closer look at the toxic atmosphere that Marcin’s presence created in the household. Deep down, he was aware that his children were ashamed of him, and that pushed him all the more to express his masculinity in an aggressive form.
Feedback throws light on how alcohol addiction can destroy not just a person but everyone around him. The lack of control and, therefore, the need to exert physical power and somehow force respect and love out of people is something that the series manages to showcase quite aptly. With the constant desire to consume alcohol comes mental health issues, and it is not just the addict who has to live through the trauma but also their family. The creator of the show primarily focuses on bringing forth how addiction can impact relationships. The helplessness is not limited to the addict; the people around him live through the same nightmare after they repeatedly fail to find a way to get the person they love back into their lives. The traumatic effect of growing up in a household where there is constant manipulation, especially from a paternal figure, is quite skillfully presented in Feedback.
The Netflix Polish series captures the effect of addiction quite well, particularly in the last episode. But it makes one wonder if we truly needed a five-episode series to tell the story of Marcin and his son, Piotrek. It would have had a much more cohesive and concise script had it been limited to the film’s duration. To reach the most effective part of the series, one has to endure the disjointed storytelling for quite some time. The investigation is simply not engaging enough to keep the audience hooked, and the tenant’s injustice could have been explored in a lot more detail. If the idea was to focus on the ill effects of addiction, then maybe a shorter duration with a crisp script would have done the trick, and if the aim was to make it an engaging investigative crime drama, then the element of thrill had to be more effective.
The performance of the cast keeps the interest going in Feedback. Arkadiusz Jakubik’s portrayal of Marcin is thoroughly convincing. There are many layers to the character, and Jakubik captures them quite well. The dark composition complements the state of mind of the protagonist as we see Warsaw through the eyes of Marcin. There is nothing exceptional about the audio track. But the repeated use of rock music acts as a reminder of Marcin’s past and also of the chaos in his mind. Overall, Feedback is an average Netflix series that can be watched for the performance of the cast and the emotional ending.