The newest Netflix Documentary TV Mini-Series would make a spectacular band name Bad Vegan. Here is my Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives review.
Should this documentary series be on your watchlist? Let’s find out.
Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. Review
After marrying a mysterious man who claimed he could make her dog immortal, a celebrated vegan restaurateur finds her life veering off the rails.
So Bad Vegan Fame, Fraud, Fugitives is the whole title of this four-part documentary series that follows the case of Sarma Melngailis, who went from being the Queen of vegan cuisine to a fugitive who’s on the run with a guy that conjured out of just a ton of cash.
This is put together in an interesting way. Throughout the documentary, Sarma herself sits down for interviews to piece the story together and give insight into the crazy events of her life.
Interspersed with the interviews with Sarma, the filmmakers sit down with her friends, family, business partners, and the staff from her restaurant that became crazy popular.
Also, we get a ton of recordings and audio from her accused partner husband conman, and some of those recordings are from the early 2010s to then, even very recently.
And I found it very strange how this dude who is either named Shane or Anthony, depending on who you talk to, but he was so verbally abusive to Sarma and then yet he was still wildly effective in getting her to give him an exorbitant amount of money.
The documentary is great from a visual standpoint. The framings of the interviews are very immersive and they’re captivating, especially because the way the camera is positioned, it makes the subject speak directly to us. So they’re talking to us, telling us their story.
The story is also laid out in a cohesive and logical way, so there’s not a ton of bouncing back and forth between times. Now, there is a little bit of that, but it’s not the main way that the narrative unfolds.
There’s been a theme in the past several documentaries that I’ve noticed, and it’s kind of odd that this type of case is apparently so prevalent.
We saw people being scammed out of their cash in the puppet master, the Tinder swindler, worst roommate ever. I mean, heck, even inventing Anna had kind of an element of this. I just didn’t realize how common this sort of thing seems to be.
Each of the four episodes is about 45 minutes to an hour, so this isn’t a quick bench, but it is very engrossing, mostly because of how incredulous the story became.
We get some great backstory on how Sarma began her career and then began to find success in her vegan restaurant in New York.
Now the accounts from Sarma herself, her employees, and even her investors help to really paint a full picture of the time and how the experience felt to everybody.
And when Shane or Anthony comes into the picture. My hackles went up immediately because some of the things that he said just don’t create huge credibility for him. And we learn this from the texts and messages that were shown on the screen.
And then when you coupled those with interactions that he has with the staff of Sarma’s restaurant, it became so hard to believe that he was able to convince her of the things that he did.
I mean, for example, this dude is a fluffier guy and there may be some muscle underneath, but he’s got a sufficient amount of winter padding to it. Well, he claims to be some sort of black Ops or maybe a contract soldier, like somebody who’d work for Blackwater.
I’m kind of pretty sure that they’re only taking people who are in wonderful shape and are able to run up a flight of stairs without getting winded, which I mean, coincidentally would completely disqualify me too.
But as the story unfolds, more and more pretty unbelievable tales come out, and yet Sarma buys into it, I mean, at least somewhat. And there does come a point in time where we can hear and then we even see that her feelings are changing and she’s no longer happy with everything that’s occurring.
I’m not trying to victim blame here, but there is a very large feeling as the documentary plays out that Sarma may not have been as innocent or even unaware as she plays herself to be.
I got a very strange feeling as the climax to the story arrived were certain things she said or maybe how she answered specific questions really created some doubt in my mind that she is truly just an innocent victim in everything that went on.
Now, I’m sure that there is a bit of Helsinki syndrome going on, I mean, just due to all that she went through emotionally. But even within that, there are some behaviors and comments that she made that gave me pause in just how much of her account that I have believed, especially when it came to how much she knew of what was going on.
When you watch, I’m curious if you pick up on that also, or if you have a different interpretation. And as captivating as the documentary is and as outlandish as some of the tales becomes, it did take too long to tell the story.
Now, there aren’t large portions that stood out to me as overly redundant or maybe even unnecessary. But I do believe that there is the opportunity to have some faster conversations in parts, allowing to trim in small ways over all of it, rather than just chopping something out completely.
I loved that the story was able to guide me along, and there were a couple of times that my doubt and my disbelief got to be so large that I was questioning things out loud and then the story addressed them. I mean, it’s almost like the filmmakers knew just how much we could take before getting frustrated and then they would answer the burning questions that had been building.
So all in all this is a decent if not bizarre story of a vegan gone wrong. Well, actually, I mean that’s not accurate but the story is engaging and I was fascinated at how far Sarma would go and how much she’d allow Shane or Anthony to take from her.
It’s shot extremely well and the large number of interviews really help to create a balanced account even if it is a little too long to watch.
It’s also a sad story. Not many and it comes out and scape but if you’re looking for a weird tale of sustainable and animal-friendly larceny you might want to check this one out.
There’s no sex and nudity but there is an incredible amount of profanity and not really any violence.
I do recommend checking out bad vegan on Netflix and if a band named that ever comes to your town, definitely check them out because it is guaranteed to be a raucous time.
Guys thank you so much as always for reading the review of Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. (2022) Netflix Documentary TV Mini-Series. See you next time.
Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. (2022) Trailer
Sarma Melngailis, the celebrity restaurateur behind the New York hotspot Pure Food and Wine, goes from being the queen of vegan cuisine to the tabloid-touted “Vegan Fugitive” when she falls for a man who promises to make her dreams come true in this scandalous four-part documentary series. Millions of riches, immortal dogs, meat suits, and secrets all contribute to a twisted love story gone wrong.
Here is the trailer of Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. (2022) Netflix Documentary Series.