Remember when The Matrix blew everyone’s minds and set the bar for every high-concept action film made over the last sixteen years? Remember the two sequels? No? You only saw the second one? Well, of course you remember Speed Racer, right? Hm. Well Cloud Atlas wasn’t all that bad. At least some people seemed to like it. You know, the one with Halle Barry? No?
Alright, we all know the Wachowskis have had a pretty uneven run of it since they brought the world one of film history’s most groundbreaking sci-fi head trips, but few can deny that they are two of the most conceptually ambitious filmmakers to come through Hollywood in a generation. So if they happen to stumble once in a while, hey, at least they were aiming high. And now the indefatigable duo have turned taken their highbrow ambitions away from the big screen to the serial format. Yes, we’re talking about television. Well, sort of. Actually we’re talking about Netflix’s binge-watching digital platform that isn’t really television at all. And the series is called Sense8.
Created in conjunction with Babylon 5 creator and Changeling screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski, Sense8 follows the story of eight individuals in eight different countries who are inexplicably connected both mentally and emotionally following a traumatic death. This evolutionary leap makes the eight “sensates” targets of mysterious forces that seek both to protect them and hunt them down. Continuing with the Wachowskis’ characteristic idea-driven sci-fi, the series will explore themes of politics, sexuality, gender, and religion while pushing the formal boundaries of action filmmaking.
According to Netflix, each character and country will have one entire episode dedicated to their story, with segments in the U.S., Iceland, South Korea, Kenya, India, Germany and, drumroll please… Mexico. In an apparent snub to Mexico’s world famous machismo, Spanish actor Miguel Ángel Silvestre plays Lito, a Mexican galán de telenovela who hides his homosexuality from public knowledge. Other actors involved in Lito’s storyline include Alfonso Herrera as Lito’s lover Hernando; Eréndira Ibarra as his heterosexual cover, Daniela; and Raúl Méndez as Agustín, Daniela’s jealous and violent boyfriend (all of whom are actually Mexican).
Sense8‘s breakneck trailer showcases all the Wachowski touches we’ve come to know and love, with hyper-choreographed fight scenes and virtuoso camerawork. If you look close enough, you can also appreciate the image of a masked luchador, a calavera-bedecked Mexico City protester, and a guy dressed as a charro dramatically shooting two pistols as his slides along a tiled floor. I guess with so many countries covered, we can forgive the team behind Sense8 if their vision of Mexico is just a bit clichéd. But we’ll have to wait till June to see for ourselves.
All twelve episodes of Sense8 will on launch Friday, June 5 on all of Netflix’s global sites.