Warning: This contains spoilers for the end of The Get Down. Not seen Baz Luhrmann’s Netflix series? Catch up with our reviews here.
Having shocked, amazed, and pistol-whipped his way to the finale of The Get Down, Baz Luhrmann produces an extended episode packed with the style, mixed-media and heart that have all come to be known as Luhrmann signatures.
In the main body of Episode 5, The Brothers put on a show of rebellion, bringing all the major ‘get down’ groups together for a display of force against Annie’s DJ-less plans. It’s an invigorating statement, not only for the characters involved, but in showing hip-hop as a force of defiance.
It’s a poetic conclusion for the hip-hopera, with Luhrmann’s trademarks shining through to create a vibe rather than a story. Told through real news segments, Dizzee’s graffiti-esque cartoons, through several styles of music, and through powerful choreography, the closing 75 minutes showcase exactly what The Get Down is about.
The director has stated that he has been working on The Get Down for over a decade, and it is one of his most upbeat, encapsulating projects yet. Although it could be seen as messy, dashed-together, and simply a bit too ’Luhrmann’, if you don’t quickly buy into the premise, those who do are rewarded with a reality-bound, small screen epic unlike anything else available. Frankly, it’s weird – and that can go either way.
Blending the format with the substance, the tightly knit cast (most of whom attended a hip-hop history class with Grandmaster Flash, Kurtis Blow & Nas) shine and manage to make the larger-than-life style work perfectly. Justice Smith, Herizen Guardiola, and Shameik Moore front the series, and finale, with gravitas, and should be roundly marked as talents to watch. Episode 5’s standout twist, however, comes from Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who plays Clarence ‘Cadillac’. Having spent the series so far as a disco-loving henchman to Fat Annie, Clarence finally lets his love for disco win him over. It’s a happy ending of the highest order, but Abdul-Mateen’s confident expressiveness ensures that Cadillac is more than just muscle, and is endless fun to watch.
Overall, Episode 5 concludes this funk-packed two-parter with a sense of protesting joy that, even when losing, Myleene and The Brothers – and The Bronx – are doing it on their terms. Luhrmann’s characteristic style blurs the line between myth, story, and method, creating a soulful harmony of fact and fiction.
The Get Down: Part 1 and 2 are available exclusively on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.