The first rule of Mr. Robot club is you don’t talk about Mr. Robot club.
One of the best new shows of late, the exceptional Mr. Robot blends Fight Club anti-consumerism with almost Kubrikian style and Carpenter-esque synth scoring, to great effect.Originally envisioned as a feature film, director, writer and creator Sam Esmail’s 10-episode first season of Mr. Robot has you intrigued by the end of the first scene but hooked by the end of the first episode, charging headlong into the complex life of super-hacker Elliot Anderson (Rami Malek), who has a comparatively normal day-job at a cyber security firm, but spends his nights scouring the web to get to the truth about suspicious individuals who enter the lives of those he knows, and take them down if need be.His anti-consumerism, massively conspiratorial ethics see him drawn to a group of hacktivists led by the charismatic Mr. Robot (Christian Slater), who wants to change the face the of the county by taking down the massive E-Corp (a thinly-veiled Apple), which happens to be the biggest client of the security firm that Elliot works for. But Elliot’s got his own problems – a supposedly under control morphine habit and a litany of psychological disorders which leave him feeling all the more alone in the world, and also leave him prone to delusions.
With a protagonist whose internal monologue evokes Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle and a villain who seems to aspire to be Patrick Bateman’s American Psycho, ultimately Mr. Robot owes the greatest debt to the aforementioned Fight Club.
Its quirky style and atypical setting, however, gives it an unusual flavour, with a striking visual flair that has a Kubrikian feel and is undoubtedly informed by the fact that the pilot was directed by the original (and superior) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Niels Arden Oplev, despite the fact that Esmail himself helms the majority of the rest of the episodes; as well as a highly unusual 80s synth-inspired score that mixes a Carpenter-esque vibe with more modern electronic beats to great effect and makes you feel like you’re watching some kind of sci-fi flick, and not an expertly crafted psychological drama. It’s this confluence of exceptional ingredients that, despite the overt referencing of several classic films, leaves Mr. Robot with a unique and compelling slant. Utterly unmissable.
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