As a Portuguese, it is quite rare to find some content from my own country to reach the mainstream media of today. I was in awe, as I watched the trailer for Glória, and though guilty as charged, I may have placed the show under my expectations, it, in fact, proved to be magnificent in what it promised to be, as well as a perfect representation of what I think Portugal was like during its dictatorship.
During the Cold War and the race to the moon between the USA and the USSR, both countries had spies all around the globe to destabilize and exercise their influence across various countries. Portugal, under Salazar’s dictatorship, had accepted a radio base from the Americans to intervene on various broadcasts from the Russians.
A spy, João Vidal, is selected to work at the station where the influence and actions of three factions is put to the test in order to grow in power during those turbulent times.
First of all, Gloria is an espionage show. Multiple threads of the story are being woven at the same time, and as if it was not enough, we also get some flashbacks, though mainly for the protagonist but not exclusive to him. So… The show will definitely hook your attention all the time, otherwise you will just lose track of the story and you’ll end up lost. As if it wasn’t enough, Gloria also has a lot of reading in between the lines and of course, you’ll watch spies at work with the technology, and boldness if I might say so, of that time. I must admit that sometimes I felt lost as to what was happening, but in the end, I got it all right.
The immersion of the show is also a strong point. People smoking all the time, drinking coffee or alcohol, proves that the Portuguese society, as pointed by an American as well, spends too much time in their pauses while doing their job. Through some scenes depicting what Salazar has stated, the strawberry on top of the cake is delivered by the protagonist, as long as there’s Fado, Fátima, and Football, the regime will last.
Last but not least. The acting is… Phenomenal. Portuguese actors portrayed Americans and Russians in a way that I found myself hardly believing that they were actually Portuguese. And of course, the show portrays what the Portuguese audience is used to watch. Sex, violence, and drugs, in a way, befitting the era of the dictatorship.
Glória proved to be an amazing entry of a Portuguese show to ever enter Netflix!
Not only is the story deliciously well written, but the music and the shoes taken of the environment and the area where the plot unfolds also look astonishing!
And the acting? Like, what the fuck was that? I mean, it’s spectacular! The Americans do it well in the show, but there are also Portuguese actors portraying Russians and Americans and they sell their roles so well, that I’m even afraid to call those perfect!
All in all, Glória is a marvelous piece of the seventh art divided into 10 episodes, which besides of having a compelling story about espionage, it also portrays very well how Portugal was during the dictatorship. It’s definitely a must-watch.