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SLOW HORSES Suffers From a Flawed and Politically Correct Worldview

Poster courtesy of MMPA

SLOW HORSES Suffers From a Flawed and Politically Correct Worldview

By Movieguide® Contributor

SLOW HORSES is a drama thriller on Amazon Prime written by Morwenna Banks, Mark Denton, Mick Herron, and others, starring Gary Oldman, Jack Lowden, Kristin Scott Thomas, and others. The show is produced by Jane Robertson, Iain Canning, Hakan Kousetta, Jamie Laurenson, Gail Mutrux, Richard May, and others, and follows a team of British intelligence agents who serve as a dumping ground department of MI5 due to their career-ending mistakes.

Each episode of season one is roughly 60 minutes. Each episode has some sort of crime that the team of agents deal with while also dealing with their relative lack of manpower and funding compared to better departments of MI5 where virtually all of them worked before making a career-ending mistake. Every episode leaves unanswered questions and unraveling situations that tease at consequences in future episodes. The show is narrative-driven with each episode building upon the previous.

However, there is enough of an episodic quality that you can start anywhere in the first few episodes and have a solid grasp of what’s going on.
Most of the conflict comes from various high and low-stakes crimes taking place in the city which the team must investigate or put a stop to. Multiple times throughout the season, the main character River, disobeys orders in an attempt to solve or prevent crimes. For example, in one episode, River disobeys direct orders to stand down after misidentifying a suicide bombing suspect. The suspect then makes his way to a populated area and detonates himself before River can stop him.

There are light Christian references, with a light immoral worldview with the characters lying, stealing, and engaging in various criminal activities though generally in pursuit of accomplishing some government purpose. There are some positive aspects as some characters show deep care for their teammates and are willing to risk their lives to save others. However, even these positives are tinted by the fact that the characters will lie, sneak, trick, betray, act selfishly, and commit crimes in an effort to accomplish these and other goals. Sometimes, these deeds even go unpunished and are presented as the right thing to do. There is a strong politically correct worldview as a white, male conservative politician is presented as a radical, xenophobic racist who is rumored to be backing various violent hate groups. There are a few times where it is pointed out that the left has gone too far by censoring offensive humor unless the humor solely attacks Christianity. This is immediately followed by the ridiculous spectacle of a group of radical conservatives kidnapping a Muslim and threatening to cut his head off on a livestream.

There are plenty of obscenities as the characters use all curse words throughout the show. Characters also consistently use substitutes including dang, darn, and a few more words, in place of what would otherwise be expletives.

There are multiple “OMG,” and “Jesus” profanities throughout the show; there is moderate violence as people fight, threaten each other with and fire guns, and otherwise engage in acts of violence at different points in the series, mass death is even implied multiple times; there is no nudity, though some characters dress provocatively at times; there is sexual content in certain episodes, mainly in the form of innuendo and sexual jokes; there is smoking/drug use and abuse and alcohol consumption; no miscellaneous immorality.

The camera work, scenery, and color grading are all up to par. The show feels as though they put in the requisite budget to do a good job. The show is not visually appealing as most of the characters are average-looking at best and the scenery, while an accurate depiction of a rough part of the UK, is not engaging to look at. Most of the draw for this show comes from the overall plot and individual character stories. The feel of the show is almost like a slightly lighter Gotham City where everyone has British accents.

SLOW HORSES is a grounded show with light immorality and strong questionable elements. While the show is entertaining, Movieguide® advises strong caution for adults due to excessive foul language and some politically correct themes. Moreover, the villains are so unrealistic that you are constantly reminded that the writers chose these bad guys because of the writers’ political biases. This happens enough to consistently take you out of the show mentally. The situations the characters get into are well-executed and the characters generally have genuine, human motivation for making the choices that they do–except for some of the villains who are more akin to low-resolution caricatures of what an ideologically-possessed leftist would imagine a conservative to be. The show does a good job of getting you to care about a few core characters. The problem is that the show can’t go two full episodes without taking a shot at conservatives. Thus, the characters exist in a grounded, gritty, realistic version of Britain but tend to fight silly, make-believe right-wing villains who are not as realistic as their environment and clash with the feel of the show.

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