Breaking barriers

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Alex Kirby

Anyone remember ‘Breaking Bad’?

Possibly the best American TV show of it’s era; seems like only yesterday that Walter White was completing his arc from mild mannered science teacher to brooding bad guy.

(Now that’s a heck of a lot of alliteration).

Well, less known is the follow up prequel ‘Better Call Saul’ which actually may be – dare I say it – even better.

Amongst all of the elements you can credit it for – great writing, great acting, great characters – above all of this is the way in which they’ve handled mental health issues. This is why the show is genius – it’s real – so real in fact.

Slow and steady

It’s shot so simply and so slowly – scenes can often take a full five minutes – but it is in this attention to detail that the truth comes out. Every scene is crafted and designed; this slowness and steadiness displays a confidence rarely seen.

I can’t think of another show that takes the time to breath real life into it’s characters and scenes, and this is where it really shines. In this simplicity is complexity – a character can say or do one thing but convey something quite different.

Central to the show is the struggle between two brothers – Jimmy and his older brother Chuck, surrounded by a great supporting cast. I won’t give anything away as to the plot, I’ll let you discover that for yourself.

Every scene is nuanced to perfection – the slight twitch of an eyebrow, the ever so slighter turn of the mouth – and so much is conveyed in what is not said – or done.

The Devil is in the details

I applaud their treatment of this subject matter – while demonstrating the visible implications of some of the characters’ actions – they also show smaller private moments that show you a disguised conflict. All is not always what it seems – indeed.

To be able to balance at times the outward nastiness with some smaller caring or even more considered moments they create a real human being with depth and sympathy.

Having been fortunate enough to work with several mental health projects here at Elastic, it was refreshing to see this subject portrayed in such a compelling manner. Assisting people with mental health illnesses and the more that is understood about these conditions the better

If you want to see this subject handled in a transformative way – well you Better Call Saul.

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