Editor’s Note: This is the second installment in a special three part review for the premiere of this CANAL+ Series.
Newly homeless ex record producer Vernon Subutex meanders the streets of Paris—not unlike a tourist—but he is searching for something that died a long time ago. He is clearly stuck in the past, and expects long lost friends to make space for him in modern day Paris. Some do, others have moved on, and viewers watch the cracks in his personality take hold with each episode.
Meanwhile, scorching-hot scam-artist ‘The Hyena’ is feasting on her prey. She targets not only those who are close enough to Subutex to destroy him, but also has her eyes on a new prize: her boss’s newest recruit, a slow-talking brunette named Anaïs. Their turbulent love story is drawn in sharp relief to Subutex’s own relationships. For Subutex, sex gets him a room, technology, cash, and simple companionship. But it is always transactional, and always to advance himself.
We are following an evicted man who seems to get by relatively easily. Subutex always finds his way into a bed at night, often accompanied by a woman. The LGBTQ+ friendly relationship between The Hyena and Anaïs gains momentum, but we can tell we are on the edge of something deeper, more meaningful. The subject matter is dark, yet carried through with sex, mischief, and many warm-toned panoramas of Cannes and Barcelona. But viewers will reel as red lighting gradually devours the colorscape, seeming to pull the first, lighter section of the show to a close.
Topic Streaming Presents Steamy Take on Gender, Money, and Subculture
This reviewer appreciates the way director Cathey Verney focuses on economics and the wealth hierarchy so directly. Her cast of well-dressed and well-moneyed office workers operate in opposition to Vernon Subutex. We watch him fend for himself, while they make online decisions about the fate of his life over Apéro and Pocky. But the soundtrack continues to transcend physical boundaries to link or divide these two contrasting worlds. The likes of Janis Joplin, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and Cigarettes After Sex situate the characters their various trajectories.
Many viewers will find the Parisian setting charming, and fall for the ease in which Subutex seems to overcome his obstacles. But it seems likely his good luck won’t last for long. We still don’t know whether or not he is a villain.
Ultimately, the series will likely appeal to the wide ranging audience of all who have an interest in binge watching TV shows during quarantine, as well as anyone who is intrigued by watching the winding streets of Paris through the 90s and today.
To watch this series visit the online TOPIC TV and Movie site.
Images courtesy of Topic Streaming
About the Author:
Theressa Malone is a writer / recent Comparative Literature and German graduate from the University of California, Berkeley. Originally from New Zealand, she is dipping her feet into the publishing industry with the hopes of making Kiwi works known. She has worked in various small publications in the Bay Area, but mainly she just likes to read.