The winter vacation is right around the corner. So, the Sungkyun Times (SKT) would like to introduce Money Heist as a perfect drama to binge-watch during holidays. As the 2nd half of Season 5 will be released this month, let’s enjoy Money Heist this winter!
Understanding Spanish Crime Thrillers through Money Heist
Introduction to Money Heist
Money Heist is a Netflix original drama series about the biggest heist in Spain carried out by a genius criminal mastermind and his team. Season 1 was released in 2017, and now there are a total of five seasons on Netflix. Money Heist was originally produced by Spanish television channel Antena 3, but the series got canceled due to the low viewing rate. However, it gained enormous popularity after Netflix purchased its global streaming rights. According to Netflix, Money Heist recorded 2nd place for the most viewed original series in 2021.
Season 1 and 2 are about a heist at the Royal Mint of Spain, and the rest of the seasons feature a heist at the Bank of Spain. The “Professor”, who plans for the robbery, recruits eight criminals to carry out his plan, and they prepare together for a few months. The gang members are code-named after cities to prevent them from getting too close and spoiling the plan. The following chart introduces each member. The Professor plans to enter the Mint and print money while occupying the location by hostage-taking. This seemingly preposterous plan was successful, stealing about €9 million. Two years later, Rio is arrested by the police. The Professor reassembles the team to save him, steals the gold in the Bank of Spain, and their robbery starts again!
|Profile of Gang Members in Money Heist Season 1 (money-heist.fandom.com)|
Key Points of Money Heist
Characters That We Cannot Hate (*Spoiler Alert)
Like their unique “city names”, the eight robbers have distinct personalities. For example, Berlin seems to act like a sociopath and prioritize his own reputation in the beginning, but he sacrifices himself for the team in the end. This twist allows him to be one of the most loved characters throughout the series. The producer Alex Pina even picked Berlin as one of the characters whom he would like to make a spin-off version for. Also, the gang treats hostages with less violence and sometimes shows their humanity. Denver is ordered to kill a hostage, but he disobeys the order and saves her. The supporting characters with dynamic traits also attract the viewers. Raquel Murillo is a competent police inspector with a personal issue - settling the divorce with her ex-husband. As a police officer, she is on the opposite side to the Professor; she betrays the government and becomes part of the gang after falling in love with him.
Symbolism Inside Money Heist
➊ The Meaning of the Title La Casa De Papel
The original Spanish title of Money Heist is La Casa De Papel, which means “The House of Paper”. It represents the Mint where money is printed. The Professor says that all the money that the Mint has printed was used to satisfy the rich in the name of “injection”. When the central bank increases the money supply to boost the economy, it is called “quantitative easing”, and injection is the act of adding new money to the market. As the money supply increases drastically, inflation can occur, making innocent people suffer from it. Such lines of the Professor indicate that quantitative easing is a robbery toward the ordinary people, and the gang members are resisters who fight against the government and its currency policy. At the beginning of Season 3, the gang throws money into the street. This scene shows the ideal of the distribution of wealth among the people, different from quantitative easing. Also, stealing the gold reserves in Season 3 can be interpreted that the gang is now going to steal the real money, not the paper money that drops in value due to their quantitative easing.
|The Helicopter Money Scene in Money Heist Season 3 (filmdaily.co)|
➋ Salvador Dali Masks and Bella Ciao
The red jumpsuits and Dali masks must be imprinted into the viewers’ minds after watching Money Heist. This signature look of the robbers seems to symbolize resistance. Salvador Dali, the well-known surrealist painter, was affected by Dadaism, which rejects values like reason and social norms. He also agreed with anarchism or anti-capitalism. Likewise, the robbers who wear Dali masks protest against the government and attack the weaknesses of capitalism by printing bills from the Mint. Indeed, the jumpsuits and Dali masks have become so iconic that they were even used in real-life protests across the world. People wearing Dali masks and red jumpsuits participated in the strike at the Nissan factory in Spain, and protesters in Dali masks were seen in Puerto Rico. Moreover, Bella Ciao (translated as “Goodbye Beautiful”), a song in the drama, is also an expression of resistance. The Professor teaches the gang members Bella Ciao, the song of the Italian resisters including his grandfather, who fought against the Nazi and the Fascists. He considers himself as the head of a resistance movement and believes the heist follows this resistant spirit.
|Protestors Wearing Iconic Red Jumpsuits and Dali Masks (meaww.com)|
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