Critical Condition: Waco

Waco | SoHo2, 7.30 Wednesday

☆☆☆ “Waco is a bit more plodding than a drama about an apocalyptic cult should be. Not that sensationalising the Koresh saga would have been the right move (and there was more than enough misinformation and untrustworthy PR spin about the group at the time). But the Paramount drama doesn’t do enough to flesh out the key motivations that turned the story into an epic tragedy.” — Variety.

☆☆☆ “Providing scant background on Koresh and practically none on the by then 40-year history of the Branch Davidians Waco is a workmanlike summary of events that paints a largely, some might say excessively, sympathetic portrait of Koresh and his followers. This is likely because of the demands of dramatic compression rather than any propagandizing on the part of the show’s makers.” — New York Times.

☆☆☆ “It doesn’t go nearly as far as it could’ve, given what a quietly charismatic star it has in Taylor Kitsch as David Koresh, and how immediately human all of his followers seem. All that being said, this is still a necessary and sometimes powerful series, particularly in the third hour, which depicts the initial assault on the compound that led to the two-month siege.” — New York.

☆☆☆ “This is not the ‘no bad guys’ version of the story at all. In one story beat after another, FBI and ATF officials prioritise violence over negotiation, concentrate on public relations over empathy and actively ignore the few contentious agents who plead moderation. And I’m not saying that’s incorrect, but let me offer the counter-proposal that maybe there actually were people who made mistakes on both sides?” — The Hollywood Reporter.

☆☆☆Waco isn’t skillful enough to weave all the opposing perspectives here into a three-dimensional story, where the ultimate victims are the innocent folk betrayed by their leader and their government. It’s so busy delivering Spam-sized chunks of ham-fisted dialogue defending the misunderstood Koresh, it loses all those other critical threads that make Waco a cautionary tale for all sides.” — Los Angeles Times.

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