Though I haven’t found Rami Malek’s recent performances compelling, he is absolutely brilliant in Mr. Robot! It’s as if he’s lived his entire life with the goal to play the role of Elliot Alderson—a cybersecurity engineer who has crippling social anxiety, is addicted to morphine, and grapples with an imaginary friend. The opening scene is a twisted one that leaves viewers craving for more while exposing Eliot’s passion for taking matters into his own hands, as he confronts a man who runs a child pornography ring and leaves him in the dust. Later on in the pilot, he meets a mysterious “Mr. Robot,” who introduces him to the underworld of hacking that he’s paid to combat. Eliot soon finds himself at the center of a cabal of hackers and revolutionaries who want to take down the world’s largest corporation. Yet there is much more than meets the eye. The screenplay is such that we perceive the world the way Eliot does—both its subtle distortions and its grandiose delusions—rendering an odd but insatiable journey into the realm of his inner demons.
Sam Esmail’s directing is resolute, the acting is exquisite, the soundtrack is warped, and the plot channels a cunning expanse of motifs and ideas that can’t be found anywhere else on TV. These aspects are stitched together with a slew of damning cultural, religious, and social critiques. And ultimately, a leaner and more propulsive drama unfolds in all of the chaos and social commentary, representing a high note for one of the decade’s signature dramas. Granted, as is the case for much of the content I review on here, Mr. Robot certainly isn’t for everyone. Yet it is a heady glimpse into the syndicates of madness lying under organized society. So don’t be afraid to take a look. Even if the barrage of drugs, sex, and dark web activity is intimidating, you’ll find things to appreciate, like Malek’s laser-beam focus over his role. You don’t need to see it all, but by logging into Prime Video and exploring the first few episodes—perhaps the whole first season—you will have already experienced a weird & terrifyingly delicious maelstrom of trippy, avant-garde art.
Here is the series’s jaw-dropping first scene.
If you don’t mind the cursing, this is epic too.