Streaming columnist NICK OVERALL gets on to the buzz around ‘The White Lotus’.
I HAD my doubts about Binge’s newest showcase series “The White Lotus”, but by the end of the first episode I had been completely drawn into this golden-hued, uncomfortably intriguing “paradise” that’s stirring up all sorts of conversations.
Describing the premise is no easy task; as a viewer we’re a fly on the wall, one that observes the exploits and misadventures of an ensemble of bizarre, yet very real characters who have taken to a luxurious resort to get away from their day-to-day life.
There’s Shane, a Ralph-Lauren clad real estate agent and Rachel, an ambitious quasi-journalist, newlyweds whose relationship gets thrown into question when a hotel booking error becomes an obsession.
Nicole, a bougie CFO whose husband Mark pretends to be fond of the fact she makes much more money than he does.
And Armond, a hilariously pedantic hotel manager who somehow prioritises customer service above customers themselves.
Throughout the series’ six episodes these characters and many more cross paths as there’s clash between generations, crisis of gender roles and strife around money, sex and death.
It’s the crushing irony of “The White Lotus” that’s the bullseye. While the island is supposed to be a holiday, a perfect, paradisiacal withdrawal, the characters here have unwittingly packed society snuggly in their bags and brought it into clearer focus than ever before on their heavenly getaway.
Sounds like a soap opera? A little bit. There’s certainly drama, but “The White Lotus” is jet-black satire more than anything else.
The series is written by Mike White, who might be best known for being the man behind the 2000’s classic “School of Rock” (on Netflix).
But here his comedic talent plays to a maturer beat and benefits all the more from it.
Many moments of the show will have viewers nothing short of cringing, but this is one car crash that’s just too hard to look away from.
“THE White Lotus” isn’t the only big piece streaming this month. Travelling back home, available on Stan from September 16 is “Streamline”, a new film that according to gushing early reviews completely breaks the sports-movie mould.
We’ve had sports films and series about rugby, cricket, soccer and the other usual suspects but “Streamline” tells the tale of a talented, teenage swimmer named Ben, who is giving everything to earn a spot in the Olympics while navigating the gloom of adolescence.
It’ll make for a particularly intriguing watch off the back of the recently finished Olympic Games.
Where there we’ve seen the prowess of stars such as Emma McKeon broadcast to us from Tokyo, “Streamline” aims to give a dramatised insight into the work it takes for athletes to get there in the first place.
Netflix’s big streaming success this month is season three of the breakout British hit “Sex Education”.
Here, socially-awkward teen Otis desperately attempts to hide from his high-school peers that his mother is a candid and heavily experienced sex therapist.
However, it’s not long before he realises he can use her expertise to win the favour of fellow students by offering guidance on their carnal and sensual woes.
“Sex Education” can at times stray into juvenile territory, but these moments are only collateral of a series that so openly attempts to explore its subject matter and often succeeds in doing so.
AND for those who don’t mind subtitles, now available on SBS On Demand is 2021’s Best Foreign Film winner “Another Round”. A gong well deserved at that.
Mads Mikkelsen plays the lead role in this Danish flick where four high school teachers run a “social experiment” of drinking alcohol every day to see how it affects their social and professional lives.
Not gonna lie, gave me a bit of a double take about some of the “social experimenting” going on during our days of being stuck at home.
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