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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Mr Robot

Sorry. Wrong photo. That's Ed Norton in Fight Club. Here's Mr Robot:

I started to watch the first two seasons of Mr Robot Friday and continued Saturday. I liked it and understood why a number of guys and dolls had said that it would stand the test of time, win multiple awards, and be all around good viewing.
By the time I got to the last episode of season 1 I said "No more!", but I started season 2. I made it through one half of the first episode and decided to go cold turkey.
No more. No more.

I really enjoyed the beginning of the series. By the time it cast away its novelties and revealed itself as an update of Fight Club - complete with a doppelgänger which we are led to believe is real for a time - I was mired in the tedium of the whole thing.

I am not the first to notice this.
Den of Geek
Mr. Robot Is Fight Club’s Spiritual Successor: Just as Rebel Without A Cause couldn’t have predicted Taxi Driver’s post-Vietnam disillusionment, and Taxi Driver in turn couldn’t have foreseen the ad-led consumerism that Palahniuk savaged in his debut novel, Fight Club had little notion that the world was just years away from a tech revolution that would endow corporations and governments with levels of intrusive power that make its diatribes against IKEA seem quaint by comparison. Front and centre is the series’ voiceover by lead Elliot (Rami Malek), which captures the same sense of paranoia and sardonicism as Edward Norton’s fast-talking Fight Club narration.

With his raised black hoodie, vacant good looks, withdrawn demeanour and counselling sessions, Mr Robot’s lead Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) even channels the hero of another turn-of-the-last-century cult favourite: Donnie Darko. Moving even further down the timeline, casting Christian Slater as a co-lead almost certainly knowingly takes the influences back to 1990’s Pump Up The Volume and 1988’s Heathers, and Slater’s anarchic, criminal mischief-makers characters, Hard Harry and J.D.

I like the reference to Donnie Darko and I understand the channeling, but Mr Robot does not "channel" Fight Club; it is Fight Club, and it is Fight Club on and on and on. I mean, it even has at least one group therapy session for Elliot instead of his usual one-on-one with his lady psychologist, and that is probably as an "homage" to Fight Club again.

Christian Slater is co-lead because he is a producer and instigator, not any other reason that is apparent. Maybe it was his role in Interview with the Vampire that knowingly takes us back to the horror of mortal boredom of Poe-like disturbing imagery that spreads like a miasmic vapor over a shallow pool of algae beside Roderick Usher's condo development.

And Carly Chaikin as Elliot's sister looks an awful lot like Helena Bonham Carter in Fight Club.

At last, the V for Vendetta touch in Mr Robot's masked man videos was as almost as nauseating as V for Vendetta's own recreation of Gaston LeRoux's The Phantom of the Opera updated for our times with a touch of the new and improved ultra-vi.


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