The six-episode Netflix show actually starts well, with Barrera’s Liv desperate to find a flight to Canada after her cancellation and bribing her into a private plane that, no spoilers here, crashes at the Canadian border. Left alone, she must fight and claw to survive, find food and figure out what the bears are up to in the wild, before finally trying to save herself.
It’s all pretty fascinating for a while, but then there’s a series of flashbacks to why this New York lawyer was so hell-bent on getting to her destination, and a series of flashbacks involving her co-worker-turned-boyfriend (Jeff Wilbush) and her complicated relationship with her parents.
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Switching back and forth between an adventure/survival romp and a rather boring personal drama leaves “Keep Breathing” gasping for air, as a few gimmicky flourishes leave Barrera essentially alone — with whom to interact. .
Created by Martin Gero and Brendan Gall (who worked on “Blindspot,” another series about a female protagonist with a shady past), the episodes are relatively and mercifully short, most running 30-some-odd minutes; Still, the show can’t quite escape the general sensibilities of the film, which spans roughly twice the length of the concept.
Whether struggling to survive or displaying her workaholic side in flashbacks, Barrera holds up her end of the bargain, but the writing doesn’t.
Once you start “breathing” it’s interesting to see how it all works out, especially since the time demands aren’t that difficult. It’s not a terrible deal, but if you’re waiting for it to heal, don’t hold your breath.
“Keep Breathing” premieres on Netflix on July 28.