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‘Mammals’ – Review

‘Mammals’ – Review


If you’re seeking variety in your streaming options then Prime Video is the place to visit, and their latest series, the darkly nuisance comedy-drama Mammals is a series that will take you by surprise.

What starts as a romantic getaway, quickly escalates into a dark comedy-drama that explores the truths at the heart of modern relationships. Mammals follows the story of Jamie (James Corden), a Michelin star chef whose world implodes when he discovers shocking secrets about his pregnant wife, Amandine. Jamie finds himself hunting for answers with the help of his brother-in-law Jeff. Through this hunt, the cracks in Jeff’s marriage to Jamie’s sister Lue also widen. Jeff attempts to get through to Lue, but this only makes Lue descend deeper into a secret fantasy world. Meanwhile, after a tragic loss, Amandine delves into her passion for violin but finds solace from an unlikely source.

Developed by Jez Butterworth and James Richardson, and directed by Stephanie Laing, Mammals is a six-episode series that will take audiences by surprise. And it’s not what it appears to be on first reflection. Focusing on the drama and complexities of modern relationships, Mammals is told from the perspective of Jamie Buckingham (James Corden), a high-flying chef who is chasing a Michelin star and his glamourous wife Amandine (Melia Kreiling). There’s is on the surface a perfect life, but within moments of the episode starting tragedy strikes, and from this dark and devastating secrets are revealed about Amandine’s private life and the narrative of Mammals quickly begins to swirl.

Focusing on themes of commitment, jealousy, relationships, infidelity, and heartbreak, Mammals is quirky and quick-witted in its presentation and its narrative moves fast and delivers plenty of shocking cliffhangers along the way. These shocks take you by surprise, and just when you think you’ve figured out why Jamie and Amandine’s relationship together can’t get any worse, another shocking development drops and it totally flaws you. The tension mounts quickly through the series, and events come together, and Laing injects a quirky dose of magical realism that makes it a thoroughly unique watch. But it’s the series’ penultimate final moments that hit the hardest and audiences won’t be ready for the shocking final revelation which is delivered and which explains all of the heartbreak that has followed through this series.

While he might be late-night television’s resident funny man James Corden changes things up with Mammals and this is a performance you’ve never seen him give before. As a busy chef and restauranter Jamie Buckingham, he’s a man with everything at his fingertips. Until they aren’t. And this narrative shift totally changes the direction in which Corden takes his performance. High-strung, emotionally agitated and overcome with paranoia, Jamie quickly turns into a vindictive villain when his wife’s secrets come to life. Corden gives his character an ugliness and aggression, and he soon becomes a dreadful bully in a move that none of the audience will expect. For Corden, it’s a real change in direction, and audiences will be quite shocked by the performance that he delivers in this series.

Starring opposite Corden is the ravishing Melia Kreiling as his beautiful and free-spirited french wife Amandine. As the mother of his children and devoted partner, Amandine is at first the perfect wife and mother. But then following a disastrous tragedy a shocking secret is revealed about Amandine and her journey in the narrative is thrown in the complete opposite direction. While the narrative paints Amandine in a negative light, it also showcases her own perspective, and when her side of the story finally reaches the audience you cannot feel a great sense of empathy with her for the choices that she’s made. Kreiling is perfect in the part and brings a full picture of Amandine to life throughout the series, and her performance will stick with audiences.

Mammals is a series that you’ll binge in quick succession, and its eccentric and truthful narrative will hypnotize you with its twists and turns, and you’ll certainly feel a dose of heavy emotion by the final episode.

Mammals is now streaming on Prime Video.

Image: Prime Video