‘Five Days at Memorial’ overview: Apple TV+ restricted collection is a grim look again at Hurricane Katrina’s tragic toll

Certainly, the title however, “Five Days” (which devotes every of the opening installments to a special day) truly encompasses eight elements, a metaphor for the best way streaming collection cope with time if there ever was one.

Right here, although, the additional chapters essentially cope with the fallout from what transpired, shifting from the docs — pressured into selections about leaving sufferers behind, and horrifyingly, euthanizing them — to these investigating what occurred (performed by Michael Gaston and Molly Hager), the place the blame lies and the associated politics surrounding it.

Primarily based on Pulitzer Prize winner Sheri Fink’s nonfiction guide and tailored by Carlton Cuse (“Lost”) and John Ridley (“12 Years a Slave,” “American Crime”), the collection makes clear that the hospital workers have been largely left to their very own gadgets. Rosy predictions turned to helplessness — and air-conditioning-free hopelessness so thick you are virtually sweating together with them — when the levees gave approach.

After optimistic predictions of being there “a few days at most,” docs grapple with no-win alternate options about evacuating a hospital that had no plan for such an incidence. “There are no options,” says the hospital’s incident commander, Susan Mulderick (Cherry Jones).

What to do? The sickest sufferers could not simply be moved, however officers balked at leaving anybody behind. Because the implications of speak about not permitting folks to undergo or die alone regularly dawned on the workers reactions ranged from horror to resignation, providing an ethical check in addition to a medical one.

Liberally utilizing precise information footage of the storm, the producers deftly convey these moments, reminiscent of when docs and nurses understand that coloured arm-bands dictated who would stay or die. It is a basic real-world demonstration of sociological experiments which have requested how unusual folks in a second of disaster can discover themselves participating in conduct that may in any other case be unthinkable.

“Five Days” thus resonates as greater than only a catastrophe film stretched into collection type, however fairly a case of cascading “What would you do?” and “How far would you go?” questions below the direst circumstances. As one physician (“Scandal’s” Cornelius Smith Jr.) muses speaking to investigators later, “It only took five days for everything to fall apart.”

Along with the aforementioned actors, the ensemble solid options Vera Farmiga as Dr. Anna Pou, a superb surgeon whose actions drew specific post-rescue scrutiny, Robert Pine, Julie Ann Emery, Adepero Oduye, W. Earl Brown, and Jeffrey Nordling.

Early on, a technician foreshadows the peril to come back by saying of the rising waters and the hospital’s capability to function, “It’d take about four feet to put us out of business.”

“Five Days at Memorial” is the alternative of a feel-good story; fairly, it strikingly illustrates how the dividing line between precept and ruthless pragmatism, between combating to save lots of each life and deeming folks expendable, resides someplace alongside the precarious fringe of that 4 ft.

“Five Days at Memorial” premieres Aug. 12 on Apple TV+. Disclosure: My spouse works for a unit of Apple.