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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Irma Vep (HBO)

Well, this was something of a curiosity. An altogether meta eight episode drama about the remaking of a French 1920's vampire movie, Les Vampires, starring Alicia Vikander as the star vampire, the eponymous Irma Vep, played by Mira Harberg, played by Vikander. The series itself is a remake too, from another version of Irma Vep from1996. Confused? Well, I certainly was.

Mostly in French, thank heavens for subtitles. Even with them, this was a chaotic and jarring experience that I was surprised I had to concentrate so dutifully on. The series leaps about all over the place and starts plotlines that it never goes back to, or leaves for half a dozen episodes before re-visiting them. The whole cast is mostly unlikeable though helplessly engaging, with their warts and all on display for all to witness, not least the Director Rene Vidal, played here by Vincent Macaigne.


I would love to say I was an art lover as much as I needed to be to appreciate what the hell was going on, but most of the subtext went under my radar while I was just trying to follow what was going on when the actual spoken words were being delivered. As a view into the life of a major star, it is sometimes interesting, but it is so ravaged by what it wants to look like, that it forgets to ensure the audience are buying into it. There is no argument that it indeed looks sublime and Vikander in a catsuit has its own rather obvious, albeit grubby, charm.




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