A strong whiff of crime novel | THE SERIAL EYE. “Sugar” on the AppleTV screen

A strong whiff of crime novel | THE SERIAL EYE. “Sugar” on the AppleTV screen
A strong whiff of crime novel | THE SERIAL EYE. “Sugar” on the AppleTV screen

Finally, someone thought of rescuing the crime novel from the trunk of good narrative. As has been happening in recent times, the Apple TV+ platform did so, whose content stands out for the quality of its production, scripts, direction and casts. And finally someone comes up with a completely new and irreverent twist on a genre that seemed to have said and shown everything, and that was made possible by the screenwriter of SugarMark Protosevich, and its director, Fernando Meirelles, the same one who one day dazzled with Kátia Lund with the film City of God.

Sugar started last April 5 and is about to complete the eight episodes starring Colin Farrell, who is supported by a staff of actresses and actors who break it in every scene: Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Elizabeth Anweis, Eric Lange, Anna Gunn, Dennis Boutsikaris, Nate Corddry, Sydney Chandler and Alex Hernandez.

Protosevich, in turn, was accompanied in his role as story writer by the screenwriters Donald Joh, Sam Catlin and David Rosen, and the photography was entrusted to a team that managed to place the series where both the screenwriter and the screenwriter intended. the director: César Charlone, Richard Rutkowski and Eduardo Ramírez González.

Suggestive plot and an unusual jump

The series has all the spices that the crime novel claims for itself, brought to the present without suffering any trauma. A simple story that becomes more complex and subverted by appealing to a combo that includes vertigo, audacity and bewilderment.

Detective John Sugar is an inveterate movie buff, and that trait gains specific weight throughout the plot. Like flashes, which gravitate in the story and often explain some situations. Suddenly it is possible that scenes starring Burt Lancaster, Humprey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, Glenn Ford, James Cagney or William Holden appear in memorable films of the genre I will not go. These sequences are inserted in a very subtle way. Sometimes these flashes fleetingly evoke, like a parallel narrative, what is happening in the series.

The central character is possible thanks to the excellent work of Farrell, who manages to get fully into the skin of a detective who fights a mysterious internal struggle, a battle that remains alien to the viewer until it becomes a mystery as important as the one that lies ahead. destination of your research.

The argument is simple. A veteran Hollywood producer, Jonathan Siegel – played by the hieratic James Cromwell – contacts Sugar to entrust her with the search for her granddaughter Olivia, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. The millionaire, unlike the young woman’s father, believes that something very terrible has happened to the girl, who has been absent on other occasions, but never without losing contact with him. That didn’t happen on this occasion, and that prompted him to call the detective.

The investigator contacts the family immediately. The young woman’s father, Bernie Siegel, is skeptical, and believes that it is just another of the escapades of her daughter, a former drug addict and owner of a strong and rebellious personality. Sugar becomes increasingly captivated by Olivia and sets out to find her.

Amy Ryan – that magnificent Beadie Russell from the series The Wire– plays Melanie Mackintosh, Bernie’s ex-wife. She quickly tunes in to Sugar, with whom she partners in the search for the missing young woman. Ryan shines from her deep and disturbing gaze, giving life to a character that she captivates.

There is a jump in the story that changes everything, for better or worse, and that will be up to each viewer. The truth is that it is a bold, risky and perhaps insolent touch, in the case of a genre that is somewhat sacred. It is clear that Apple TV has very active people in its ranks.

Why, despite everything, Sugar is a crime novel

Who knows if, in 1950, Raymond Chandler wrote his essay The simple art of killing He was aware of removing the veil from what would become a style that would have a profound impact throughout the world, and not just in the United States: the crime novel.

Before and after him, many ventured into “the world of crime”, that slippery route along which cruel thugs, small-time crooks, unscrupulous millionaires, corrupt police officers, mysterious women and, always, a detective who navigates between their virtues and martyrdoms.

It can be said that crime novels always question the double standards that the Western lifestyle exhibits, regardless of the country, but especially in the United States. It is a genre that hits the system where it hurts most: the impossibility of being anything other than that, a masquerade. In relation to this, it is no coincidence that the first texts of this genre were originally published by a North American magazine called Black Mask (Black Mask).

And this is where the characteristics that seem foundational in the crime novel intersect with the amazing script of Sugar. If the genre, almost by definition, is characterized by realism, purists have every right to challenge the series.

But if the crime novel is as strong as it has proven to be over many decades, this masterful turn taken by the creators of Sugar. Rather, it could be said that this change of direction gives it more vigor and opens the doors to explorations as bold as this one.

The great names of this narrative style – Carroll John Daly, Dashiell Hammett, Ross Macdonald, among others – were truly very daring, showing how unbreathable a world in which injustice, violence, corruption, insecurity and crime are combined can be. organized. They were times of economic depression, and of social and moral crisis not very different from those we are experiencing today, almost a hundred years later.

After all, if it’s about crashing in the middle of the race, Chandler, in the novel The long goodbye, has his character Phillipe Marlowe tell what being him is all about: “I’m a licensed private investigator and I’ve been doing this job for some time. I am somewhat of a lone wolf, I am not married, I am no longer a young man and I have no money. I’ve been to jail more than once and I don’t handle divorce cases. I like whiskey and women, chess and a few other things. The cops don’t like me too much, but there are a couple I get along with. I’m from California, born in Santa Rosa, parents dead, no brothers or sisters and when they end up with me in a dark alley, if it happens, as can happen to anyone in my job, and many other people in any job, or in “No one, in these days, will have the feeling that their life suddenly lacks ground.”

That’s crime fiction. And that, in 1953, was almost like taking a leap into the void.

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