'The Curse' is one of the most peculiar and uncomfortable series that we will see in 2024. Emma Stone and Nathan Fielder star in a voyeuristic game of reflections and distortions
SkyShowtime premieres the new series from the creator of the magnificent 'The Rehearsals'REVIEWS Albertini
The truth is that it is difficult to describe the experience of getting into ' The Curse ', Nathan Fielder 's new series , co-created on this occasion with Ben Safdie and premiering this Friday on SkyShowtime . If you have seen ' The Rehearsals ' or 'Nathan for You' and even things from Orbit like ' How To with John Wilson ' you can already imagine where the shots are going in terms of tone or style, so the question is rather how Would something similar work in fiction?
And not in a very comical fiction, as we might expect, but in something clearly more dramatic. Yes, we have a clear satire and there is no lack of humor when it comes to exploring this couple as they try to carry out a reality show (Flipanthropy), but all its ingredients make up a cocktail of discomfort and other people's shame that, at times, is difficult .
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Nothing, of course, that is not a trademark of Fielder's work... so, as I said at the beginning, we know where we are going. However, I think that the format chosen for the series (episodes of approximately 50 minutes) does not help when it comes to receiving this dose . In fact, I think the half-hour format would have been good.
Which does not mean, at all, that the result is not of a high level: it certainly is. And in its awkwardness and peculiarity 'The Curse' is downright fascinating, with many interesting things to say as it explores this married couple and their show director friend. The curse alluded to in the title may be literal, but it is also clearly metaphorical.
Starting with the very marriage of Asher (Fielder) and Whitney (Emma Stone), who are explored almost incisively as people with a certain white savior complex as they try to get their big real estate project in Hispaniola, New Mexico and which is in the thin line between "we're helping the community" and pure gentrification. It is distortion of the environment.
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In this sense, it is curious to see how the couple's points of view and the masks they put on collide not only in front of the cameras, but also outside of them. Beyond anger problems that, for example, Asher has, the series focuses directly on the internal conflict , his real motivations and how to deal with, for example, that awareness, that crusade for "passive houses", to transform the community, for helping the indigenous, Latino population, etc. with the business part.
'The Curse' also has a lot to tell about a format with which Fielder is familiar: reality TV. Just as the authenticity of the couple is called into question, here they also point to the tricks of this type of programs. Obviously, the series does not take us for fools and knows that we know the degree of preparation and fiction they have. It is more a comment on the distortion of reality that occurs when trying to capture it.
A distortion that the series plays with. You just have to see the scenes that occur outside those super-reflective passive houses, putting those next to them in a kind of mirror game in which we see our protagonists from another, less flattering angle. The direction of Fielder and David and Nathan Zellner is, furthermore, obsessed with making us see everything, at all times, in an almost voyeuristic and yes, uncomfortable way.
Something sustained, in many moments, by a cast quite committed to their characters. It's true that Fielder continues to take his own character to such an extreme that it's hard to distinguish the line between him and Asher; but, on the other hand, Emma Stone is absolutely fabulous balancing a role that could easily fall into a certain parody of caricature .
Although it has this uncomfortable and even difficult to watch factor, just like a good docureality, one finds oneself fascinated by what is happening in 'The Curse'... and these five episodes with which it has debuted on SkyShowtime (of a total of 10 still broadcast in the United States) are a good example of a great game of mirrors and distortions.
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