“Sugar”: homage to film noir with Colin Farrell

We are all sugar for the new series “Sugar”

Published today at 6:58 p.m.

In an anthracite suit and slicked back locks, John Sugar poses as a worthy heir to the privates of yesteryear. Attached to his code of honor, the detective tracks down missing people in Los Angeles to avenge his lost sister. Under the mask of actor Colin Farrell, the aging handsome guy also makes films, playing the best scenes in a loop noir films from Hollywood’s golden age.

The protagonist of the series “Sugar” – available on Apple TV since April 5 – is intriguing in more than one way. And not just as a loyal subscriber to “Sight and Sound” and “Cahiers du cinéma” or as a film library rat always in love with Gena Rowlands in John Cassavetes’ kitchen.

The solitary man also takes conscientious notes in a notebook which he regularly gives to a no less mysterious intercessor, Ruby. “Observe, learn” is his leitmotif. Crazy about “The Night of the Hunter” by Charles Laughton and its ambivalent preacher, this vindicator now knows how much love and hatred are tattooed in the souls of men.

Complexity and contradiction

After a credits which pays homage to the paintings of Edward Hopperthe quotes are repeated at an ever faster pace until the flash of a single, almost subliminal image inserted in the middle of the action in the last episodes.

From Humphrey Bogart to Robert Mitchum and Dick Powell, Colin Farrell draws abundantly from what nourishes complexity and contradiction, these traits which differentiate the human species from its prehistoric ancestors. Beyond this device, sublimated in the comedy series “Dream On”“Sugar” closes a corner at the narrative level.

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In itself, the plot seems approachable for any self-respecting sleuth in the City of Angels. At the darkest of “LA Confidential”, James Ellroy has seen others and the file entrusted to Sugar does not stand out from a long line of pretty girls fainted in the wild. Except that here, the victim, Olivia, belongs to the famous Siegel dynasty – again, surname chosen, no doubt a nod to Eastwood and Inspector Harry.

By barely digging, Sugar discovers a half-brother fond of sexual perversions, without forgetting the patriarch, a filmmaker who fully glorified the radiant sensuality of his stars, or even his current wife, a hyperprotective mother determined to do the worst to protect her son’s back. son. Enough to film the birth of Evil with the brilliance of Michael Mann or from the Coen brothers. However, this armored series of chic and trashy narrative also lets the glamorous armor crack to give a glimpse of other ambitions.

A fade of film into the scenario

Here, we will have to talk about the author, the Chicagoan Mark Protosevich, a film fan lulled by the exploits of Errol Flynn and Clark Gable who, as a teenager emboldened by the films of Ray Harryhausen, went so far as to play the vampire in the neighborhood gardens. According to him, he completed his education with the discovery of the masterful “Taxi Driver” and “Chinatown” and perfected his skills at the school of the Germanic rebels (Fassbinder, Herzog, Wim Wenders) and their French counterparts of the New Wave.

Having become a screenwriter late in life (“The Cell”, “Poseidon”, “I Am Legend”, “Thor” or “Oldboy”), the enthusiast under influence has since continued to carry this baggage. And this is seen in “Sugar”, a demanding series which can be annoying with its display of cinephilic erudition or, on the contrary, hooked like a junkie in need of dope on Sunset Boulevard. At the age of sixty, Mark Protosevich barely hides the fact that he has found the meaning of existence on the big screen and wonders if it all makes sense.

Land at the Shibuya crossroads

As the rather short episodes drag on, an ever more insidious fantastic feeling emerges. John Sugar presents some anomalies from the standard private, and not just because he prefers the company of dogs to that of women.

The man hates violence, agrees to carry a revolver with his fingertips, and only because it is an antique. He speaks several languages, from Spanish to Urdu, displays demonic intelligence and Olympian phlegm. His big trip as a human being is to sit on a terrace in Tokyo, at the Shibuya crossroads, where 3,000 people pass each minute.

To say more would be sacrilege but know that in the end, when “The End” appears on the screen, John Sugar makes you want to see him back in a second season. A bit of softness in this brutal world…

Apple TV, 8 X 50′-33′.

Cécile Lecoultreof Belgian origin, graduated from the University of Brussels in art history and archaeology, writing in the cultural section since 1985. She is passionate about literature and cinema… among other things!More informations

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