Netflix’s new mini-series What/If is deliberately absurd and a complex drama which might be the best show for many but the worst show for many others.
The show starts from a motivating dialogue of the antagonist Anne Montgomery (Renee Zellweger) in which she says “Everything happens for a reason” and then goes on explaining this line through various words, cut straight to a year later where the protagonist is banging the door, shouting her husband’s name ’Sean’ again and again and then cut to three days earlier where we get to know more about the main character Lisa Donovan(Jane Levy), with life-changing technology in her hands is approaching several multinational companies to invest in her biotechnology start-up. Rejected by everyone, her husband Sean Donovan(Blake Jenner) gets an offer by Anne Montgomery, a leading capitalist for her wife to present the ideologies and the research of her company Emigen. Anne agrees to invest in the start-up but on one condition to have her husband for a night. After a long, dramatic discussion they agree to Anne’s proposal but things don’t end there. Later on, we come to know that everything happening in Sean and Lisa’s life is a scripted drama for Anne Montgomery. What happens next and why do they happen is the show all about.
The show finds its asset in being absurd because when you complete this show you realize that everything happening was a deliberate consequence of the past of all the characters of the show. As Thanos says” Dread it, run from it, destiny still arrives”, Anne’s slogan might be “Dread it, run from it, consequence of the past still arrives.” The show is gender-flip of 1993’s famous Indecent Proposal, even the main characters give the reference for you in a dialogue. But the movie still doesn’t cover the actions of the past and its consequences in the future premise on such a large scale as this show did. Normal performances by most of the cast but very strong performances of the antagonist, the Oscar winner Renee Zellweger and the WestWorld’s Peter Abernathy aka Louis Herthum who plays the role of Foster as a right hand for Anne,really is a treat for everyone. The show has three different stories for different characters and each of them follows the same “consequence of the past” theme.
Strong dialogues throughout the show like “ No matter what path we choose in life, good or bad. It always leads us right where we deserve to be.“ or “Prison is prison, with or without the bars” really favors the motive of the show’s story. Though 80’s cliche music acts as a bummer for the show. Mike Kelly through this show intentionally instigates your inner urge for complex drama in a witless story, thus successfully engages you in absurdity.
In simple words, it might be the best drama for a group of people who like complex drama show and might be the worst show possible for a group of people too determined to shake their presumptuous beliefs about what drama is for them.
Acting - 3 / 5.
Direction - 2.5 / 5.
Script - 3 / 5.
Cinematography - 2 / 5.
Music - 1.5 / 5.
FINAL VERDICT - 3 / 5.
You should watch this show, or maybe you shouldn't.