The primary two episodes of HBO’s The Idol have sparked controversy amongst critics, with many criticising the overtly sexual nature of the sequence.
The episodes had been proven for the primary time at this yr’s Cannes Movie Competition (Could 22), making it the primary present to have its official debut on the prestigious cinema occasion.
It stars each Lily-Rose Depp and The Weeknd — who’s working beneath his actual title Abel Tesfaye — and follows the story of a world-famous pop star (Depp), whose relationship with sleazy mentor (Tesfaye) highlights the darkish underbelly of the showbiz world.
Following the primary two episodes of the long-awaited sequence, the present — which is directed by Euphoria creator Sam Levinson — obtained a five-minute standing ovation from the viewers. Critics, nevertheless, have taken a unique method – with many being fast to criticise the sequence for its specific content material and “regressive” narrative.
A evaluation by Selection proclaimed the sequence to play “like a sordid male fantasy” which “perpetuates the myth that pop stars are corporate puppets with no say in their own image-making”. It additionally highlighted the highly-controversial nature of the present, which it later described as together with “revenge porn photos of bodily fluids on Depp’s face, masturbation with ice cubes, nightclub-owning scam artists and vile Hollywood sycophants”.
An identical view was proven by Lovia Gyarkye of The Hollywood Reporter, who described the primary two episodes as being “more regressive than transgressive”.
“It’s always a bit suspicious when shows try to market themselves as edgy,” wrote Gyarkye. “What are they trying to prove? This obvious effort to make The Idol appear controversial took an ironic turn. The show, initially billed as an exploration of the seedy underbelly of Hollywood and the music industry, became what it tried to satirise.”
“Instead of subtly skewering the misogynistic and predatory nature of the business, The Idol became a forbidden love story — the stuff of a toxic man’s fantasy,” she added.
The Los Angeles Instances evaluation agreed, putting comparisons between the character of The Idol to that seen in one other Levinson-created sequence. “A similar penchant for graphic sex, cute clothes and self-destruction [to Euphoria],” the evaluation learn. “With several sex scenes that are graphic (especially aurally) even by HBO standards, the term ‘porn’ is not inaccurate, though it’s tough to imagine anyone would consider any of the action erotic when it is so ham-fisted.”
Not all critics had been as fast to sentence the present, nevertheless. In a evaluation by Deadline, Damon Smart described the sequence as “riveting” and “highly sexualised performance”, which is “grounded and often vulnerable, discomfortingly addressing the fine lines between porn and art”. He additionally described it as highlighting the “power and exploitation that have faced young women in the music industry for years”.
The Idol premieres Sunday June 4 on HBO.
Earlier than the debut of the primary two episodes at Cannes, the sequence sparked controversy as soon as once more, following rumours of quite a few costly reshoots and inventive clashes — a lot of which surrounding Tesfaye.
The musician and actor mentioned the controversy earlier this month (Could 3), saying: “Film and TV is a new creative muscle for me… I don’t release my music until I think it is great. Why would this be any different?”
He additionally added: “I realised that I need to know that I’ve made the best version of whatever I’m making. It was a challenge to redo The Idol, and, in truth, I sacrificed my health and home to make it work. So, let’s say it comes out and it’s fucking horrible. I still know I did my absolute best.”
Tesfaye additionally responded to a report alleging that The Idol is “a shitshow”. The feedback got here following a report by Rolling Stone, which noticed 13 nameless sources from the present’s forged and crew spoke on the manufacturing of the anticipated sequence, and even described it as “torture porn”.
Tesfaye merely responded to the report with a tweet, exhibiting a clip of Tesfaye’s and Depp’s characters shutting down a canopy story pitch from the journal, arguing that it’s “irrelevant”. He additionally tagged the publication in his tweet with a query: “did we upset you?”