The Regime: season 1 complete review with Kate Winslet for the win

Kate Winslet in The Regime

The Regime, with Kate Winslet as a deranged head of state, is a look inside the bubble of power in a European country. Inside the palace things are chaotic, bizarre, and leap from one crazy notion to another at the hands of Chancellor Elena Vernham (Kate Winslet). She is, to put it mildly, bonkers. Smart, self-serving, oblivious, prone to hypochondria, and totally deluded.

The Regime would be funny – it’s meant to be funny – but Elena bears such a strong resemblance to the out-of-touch and oblivious political types running around inside governments right now that it’s sometimes hard to laugh at what feels real and true.

Kate Winslet and Guillaume Gallienne in The Regime

Elana is married to Nicholas (Guillaume Gallienne). They care about each other and split some responsibilities. He for example, is in charge of the huge hidden cache of secret accounts and stolen money they siphon off the people.

Louie Mynett and Andrea Riseborough in The Regime

Elana and Nicholas claim to have a son, Oskar (Louie Mynett). He is actually the child of their chief aide, Agnes (Andrea Riseborough). They took the boy from Agnes, just because they could, and allow her 20 minutes per day with him.

Kate Winslet in The Regime
The head of state dresses up for her song and dance.

Elena’s duties run to issuing badly thought out orders to her counselors in quick meetings. Then she engages “the people” in musical performances, or tears the entire palace apart because she’s afraid of mold, or refrigerates every room to freezing because she’s menopausal and hot. She holds long conversations with her dead father, who is preserved whole in a glass box.

Matthias Schoenaerts in The Regime

As part of the hunt for mold, a soldier known as “The Butcher” is brought into the palace. He is Corporal Herbert Zubak (Matthias Schoenaerts). His job is to walk ahead of Elena and measure the humidity in every area to be sure it won’t be moldy. He quickly gets her ear and her attention. There’s some attraction between them, and they connect in an odd way. He begins talking to her about the working people and their suffering, which leads to a whole series of bad decisions on her part that drag the country into a civil war. She’s soon completely under Herbert’s influence.

There were some things I thought the series did really well. It made crystal clear how someone with ultimate power surrounded by people who do whatever crazy thing they want can stray so far from good sense, moral character, empathy, and recognition of the value of a normal person. The sets were wonderfully opulent and the costumes were excellent.

I really loved how in the later episodes when Elena and Herbert saw each other a musical bit like “Lara’s Theme” from Dr. Zhivago played and the two of them were spotlighted as if they glowed.

What was less well done was to connect Elena’s delusions of greatness to current events. You can connect the dots, but it should be easier. Additionally, some of the things that I think were meant to be funny didn’t quite hit the mark for me.

Kate Winslet is brilliant in this. She nailed every detail, every emotion, every deluded nuance. Matthias Schoenaerts and Andrea Riseborough were also both terrific. All the acting was top notch, including from folks were only there for short bits like Martha Plimpton and Hugh Grant.

All six episodes of The Regime are now available on Max. Jessica Hobbs directed 3 of the 6 episodes.

4 thoughts on “The Regime: season 1 complete review with Kate Winslet for the win”

  1. Thanks for the review. I tried twice to watch it, but as you said, it isn’t funny, and I wasn’t drawn in. Sometime when I’m bored I’ll try again. I’m finding Korean Tv series to be so much more entertaining and thoughtful than any others.

  2. This series is hysterical! It reminds me a bit of the “Mars Attack” movie. Its surreal humour hit the mark for me. Ten minutes into episode 1, my wife walked out of the room, saying the show wassilly and nonsensical. To me it is a satire of the American political system, a la Trump, of course. Worth it, IMHO.

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