KAMIKAZE on HBO Max is a new limited series from Denmark. It’s a thriller-drama hybrid that gets truly scary at times. With eight episodes that are each around the half-hour mark, this is bitesize entertainment. Still, it leaves an impact. Read our full Kamikaze series review here!
KAMIKAZE is a new HBO Max limited series from Denmark. In a nutshell, we follow the 18-year-old girl Julie, who loses her parents and older brother in a plane crash. As a tight-knit family, the loss takes a huge toll on the young girl.
So much so that she starts heading directly towards her own demise. Still, simply ending her own life isn’t her plan. Instead, she seeks out danger everywhere she can find it. In fact, this limited series begins with a plane crash. No, not the one that kills Julie’s family.
Instead, it’s Julie – who is now sporting a crewcut and a face tattoo (“pancake sirup” over her left eyebrow) – crashing into the desert in a small plane. There, from the desert where she waits to finally die, we get the story about how she ended up there.
Continue reading our Kamikaze series review below. We’ve watched all eight episodes for this review.
Marie Reuther is unforgettable as Julie
While Kamikaze features a story that has a brutal backdrop, it is also very life-affirming. Since Julie has no fears (after all, she has a very active death wish), she throws herself into all sorts of situations.
Marie Reuther is absolutely brilliant and unforgettable as Julie. And yes, that includes all those irritating and stupid things that Julie does. Then again, she is just 18 years old when this story begins. She has lost her entire family and there is no aunt or grandparent to help her. Just a few friends and that is it!
Even though Kamikaze is very much a tour de force for Marie Reuther, the show also features several other memorable performances. There’s Anders Matthesen (The Marco Effect) as the therapist “Psyko-Bo”, who tries to help Julie cope with the situation. He doesn’t handle it very well since Julie knows how to “work him”.
Aleksandr Kuznetsov (Why Don’t You Just Die!) plays the Eastern European handyman, Krzysztof, who also deserves a shout-out here. He has the craziest boxer’s nose, which means he has a very extreme profile that you cannot help but notice. More importantly, Krzysztof becomes Julie’s closest ally back home (which isn’t saying that much).
Almost an anchor to her old life as she travels the world. Aleksandr Kuznetsov does a great job of being the laidback and sincere presence in Julie’s crazy new world.
Poor little rich, white girl?! Not exactly.
For the longest time, Julie (Marie Reuther) just travels all over the world. She rarely leaves the airport, though. Instead, she books the next flight when she has just landed at a new airport. The idea is that if she goes on enough flights, surely one of them will crash and she can finally feel close to her family again.
And yes, it is very easy to just go “oh, poor little rich, white girl” since she can do this. Money is no object and she doesn’t care about anything. Least of all her own life! But, come on, she is a poor soul, when she has lost her entire world at just 18 years of age. The fact that she has money to burn and reacts in this very extreme way makes her different.
Then again, you could just as easily argue that the only thing making sense to Julie is to follow her father’s last words. She received a text message as the plane crashed down. “We’re crashing. Love you. Do what you want”. Julie most definitely took that last part of the message to heart.
Also, what I was very happy to see was the way Julie interacted with others. Even though she is hurting, she always treats strangers with kindness and acts in a polite and respectful manner. As we all should at any given time, of course. This is definitely a redeeming quality.
Her old friends, however, are treated in a very terrible way; They reach out but are constantly ignored!
Julie pulls away from everything related to her old life and is extremely selfish in that sense. Or is she? After all, she is heading straight to her own demise. Pulling away from the people, who care for her, is ultimately also the only way she can protect them from the pain of seeing her crash and burn.
Watch Kamikaze on HBO Max
Kaspar Munk is the director of all eight episodes in the series. And it is a truly gorgeous way of telling this story. Aside from seeing Julie roam around the world, we also get various montages to explain the things she’s going through. All in the effort to help us understand her frame of mind during this kamikaze adventure she’s embarked upon.
The limited series is based on the novel “Muleum” by Norwegian author Erlend Loe. It’s been conceptualized by Anette K. Olesen (Little Soldier) who was also set to direct, but left the project just before shooting began. The screenplays for all eight episodes were written by Johanne Algren (Holiday).
When you watch Kamikaze on HBO Max (and you really should!), then please just try to give the “poor little rich white girl” a chance. Julie is not the kind of character that is easy to like. She does stupid things and acts like the spoiled kid she is. However, she has also just experienced a most immense loss which we should all be able to relate to. Hopefully only in theory.
This limited series is one brutal adventure that becomes very international. Julie spends time in South Korea and Mexico, where she tends to bring joy to others while still being sad herself. And yet, her death wish seems to be the one thing to keep her going.
It sounds strange, I know, but if you’ve ever known anyone suffering from depression, you might know that a sudden sense of joy might be related to a decision to commit suicide. The very idea that the pain will soon be over, is enough to bring joy (or relief, really). This is what you’ll be watching in real-time when following Julie after she lost her family and goes on this wild journey.
Kamikaze has eight half-hour episodes, and two are released weekly from November 14, 2021, on HBO Max.
Concept: Annette K. Olesen
Adaption & Script: Johanne Algren (based on the novel Muleum by Erlend Loe)
Director: Kaspar Munk
Cast: Marie Reuther, Charlotte Munck, Johan Rheborg, Mads Reuther, Aleksandr Kuznetsov, Carla Philip Røder, Vidhi Kastebo , Casper Kjær Jensen, Anders Matthesen.
Kamikaze follows the fierce and charming 18-year-old Julie, played by Marie Reuther on a journey of rediscovery, after losing her parents and brother in a plane crash. Suddenly, she finds herself alone in a large mansion with expensive cars in the garage, and, in theory, everything that most people only dream of: youth, beauty and money – lots of money – but material possessions hold no value to her anymore and she is forced to search for a reason to go on. She embarks on a wild and turbulent trip that takes her from her native Denmark to the far corners of the world.