English
Gamereactor
series
The Consultant

The Consultant

Christoph Waltz stars as an eerie and mysterious boss in this unsettling, satirical thriller.

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Whenever I hear that a show based on a game or the games industry is coming, a part of me always cringes and begins to prepare for a disappointing experience. Or at least it did. Because the past few years have seen some really interesting and well handled gaming movies and shows, including Free Guy and the stellar The Last of Us. So, when I heard that Amazon was bringing us an adaptation of The Consultant and that this version would revolve around a mobile game developer and would star the usually excellent Christoph Waltz, I was actually very intrigued. Jump to the present and I've finally had the chance to catch the full series and now have plenty of thoughts.

For starters, The Consultant doesn't look to explore the gaming industry too much to be honest, and that is a good thing in my books. It's more a tale of what happens when an individual is brought into a company with the aim of solely stopping it from sinking and in the process essentially future proofing it, all while having little knowledge as to how the actual company runs and operates. Except the difference here is that Waltz's consultant, Regus Patoff, is not a typical human. He is cunning, vindictive, business savvy, and enjoys tormenting his staff by calling them in the early morning hours and asking for near impossible tasks - all on top of being wrapped up in some very, very shady dealings that protagonists Nat Wolff's Craig and Brittany O'Grady's Elaine will have to skirt around and attempt to piece together in an effort of discovering Patoff's motives. It is a workplace nightmare and yet the leading trio manage to bounce off each other in such a way that there's a degree of satirical humour baked in.

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While it should come as no surprise at this point in his career, but as he has been many times beforehand Waltz is absolutely astonishing in this role. Patoff never comes across as a genuinely terrifying individual, but you do always feel unsettled and nervous about his presence. He commands every scene and does so in a way that you can never really figure out his intentions, as Waltz does a brilliant job at constantly making you question his words and actions, despite how direct they may be. This actually goes so far to the point where you begin to doubt Craig and Elaine, regardless of how being the viewer you get the behind closed doors look that clearly shows Patoff as being the antagonist of this story. He really is a marvellously written and acted character.

While the narrative is fine and dialogue as a whole is usually good, The Consultant does face an issue with making its supportive cast intriguing. Aside from Aimee Carrero's Patti (as she has quite a significant role in the plot), there are very few additional characters that you could point to as being impactful or important to the storyline. They feel like faces in a crowd a lot of the time, and it is often a shame as there are some interesting individuals that could've been leaned on more here.

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Also, the show struggles to sell on its comedic tones a lot of the time. You can tell that it aims to be satirical and funny, and some jokes do deliver a satisfying punchline, but there are significantly more occasions where the joke falls completely flat, or rather is simply too clever for its own good meaning it flies right over your head and usually the series is well into its next narrative beat before you clock it.

The Consultant

But all in all, The Consultant is a show that is worth watching if you enjoy thrilling and occasionally funny TV. Waltz is excellent, the plot is engaging, and there's enough mystery and suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat for its eight episode run. It has its flaws for sure, but would I like to see Waltz's Patoff back for another outing so we can start to piece together this deeply eerie and mysterious individual? Without a doubt.

07 Gamereactor UK
7 / 10
overall score
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The Consultant

The Consultant

SERIES. Written by Ben Lyons

Christoph Waltz stars as an eerie and mysterious boss in this unsettling, satirical thriller.



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