Mr. Robot – Season 2, Episode 1: “eps2.0_unm4sk-pt1.tc”

USA’s Mr. Robot
Season 2, Episode 1: “eps2.0_unm4sk-pt1.tc”
Directed & Written by Sam Esmail

* For a recap & review of the next episode, “eps2.0_unm4sk-pt2.tc” – click here
Pic 1We start on the fsociety mask, of course underneath is Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallström), as many of us suspected. And the whole time he was recording that video, Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) was right there with him. So, what happened to Tyrell afterwards? Did our boy use the gun he hid in the popcorn machine ages ago on him? I’m not so sure.
Its almost as if somethings come alive
Flashback to when young Elliott got knocked out of the window by dear ole dad, Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) himself. At the doctor, the bills are naturally of concern considering dad’s unemployment. And doc wonders if there’s anything nasty going on at home.
Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 12.15.56 AMNote: I was late starting into this show, and can’t understand how that happened. Because not only is the acting and the writing fantastic, the visuals are outstanding, the cinematography is unique. So much to enjoy. But best of all is how the visual style, even the music, really helps to put us in the fractured state of mind where Elliot exists perpetually. Playing into the narration, where the audience is treated as the voices in his head, at least in the sense of us being who he’s talking to directly.
Leon: “The human condition is a tragedy, coz.”
Now things are all fucked up. Even Obama’s talking about Tyrell Wellick, fsociety, and their impact on the economy as a whole in the country, abroad. Everything’s gone mad. Elliot, though, he’s making new friends like Leon (Joey Bada$$), whom he hangs with often, eating together, watching basketball games at the park. Although our hacker doesn’t understand sports, except for the rules: “The invisible code of chaos hiding behind the menacing face of order.”
Because Elliot likes routine, normalcy, repetition. No more thinking, just a drone from day to day. He goes to see Krista Gordon (Gloria Reuben) regularly for psychiatric sessions. She’s not exactly thrilled with him, after all he’s done. But professionally she gives him the benefit of the doubt.
At home, Elliot deals with dad coming back, trying to force his way back inside. The son wants answers. All he gets is an imaginary bullet in the head. Yet he goes on, effectively ignoring Mr. Robot, that other part of him. I wonder, at what cost?
Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 12.27.15 AMThe Wall Street bull is having its nuts cut off, fsociety sending that figurative message to the elites that they’ve neutered them. A clever gesture.
We’re introduced to Susan Jacobs (Sandrine Holt), she works as general counsel for Evil Corp. Nicknamed “Madame Executioner” for dealing with lawsuits often involving deaths. She lives a fairly normal life. Jobs, watches the news. Tonight, life is a little different. Her licks flicker while she’s swimming in her pool, music plays then stops. The shower nearly burns her skin. In the rest of the house, the temperature’s been dropped. Her TV turns, the phone rings. Someone’s hacking her Smart House. You just know Darlene (Carly Chaikin) is kicking around someplace.
Later, Elliot meets with Gideon Goddard (Michel Gill). Apparently the FBI believes Gideon was involved in the hack, in some way, shape, or form. He’s hiding away, scared, paranoid. Problem is our hacker has to contend with dad rambling in his ear while listening to his old boss plead for help. When he refuses to help, there’s the possibility of blackmail, plus the fact Elliot can barely tell reality from delusion anymore.
How do I take off a mask when it stops being a mask? When its as much a part of me as I am?”
Part of why I love Mr. Robot is that it takes a look at the toll on those who try to bring revolution, what it takes personally, professionally, ethically/morally. We see Elliot’s further deteriorating mental state, exacerbated by this feeling of wanting to save the world. We also see Darlene warped by a sense of power, not doing too well, either; she’s pointed in the right direction, but even those with good intentions can be warped, too.
Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 12.42.33 AMSeems the hack has made things a bit worse than better. People had their debt wiped out, though now the banks can’t verify how much people paid, if they did at all, their systems are all out of whack. And it’s getting worse. By worse, it’s Darlene hoping to make things better, to affect genuine change.
Phillip Price (Michael Cristofer) and Scott Knowles (Brian Stokes Mitchell) meat with Susan, to talk over the hack, issues of money. She gives her thoughts on paying the ransom to fsociety in regards to the latest hacking move. She thinks it’s best to pay and be done. Then Scott offers to bring the money himself.
Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 12.52.33 AMDamn. A very intense, mysterious opener that has me curious about what’ll happen to Scott, where Darlene is headed, and most of all how Elliot’s going to keep coping with dad.
“eps2.0_unm4sk-pt2.tc” is next.

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NO ESCAPE is an Adrenaline Soaked Ride Inside a Bloody Revolution

No Escape. 2015. Directed by John Erick Dowdle. Screenplay by John Erick & Drew Dowdle.
Starring Lake Bell, Pierce Brosnan, Owen Wilson, Sterling Jerins, Claire Geare, Thanawut Ketsaro, Chatchawai Kamonsakpitak, Sahajak Boonthanakit, Tanapol Chuksrida, & Jon Goldney. Bold Films/Brothers Dowdle Productions/Living Films.
Rated R. 103 minutes.
Action/Thriller

★★★★
POSTER Ever since The Poughkeepsie Tapes I’ve made sure to keep an eye out for John Erick Dowdle. That was an intense bit of found footage horror which left a mark on me. That’s why when As Above, So Below came out I was quick to line up, and unlike many others I thought it was a solid, underrated modern horror movie. Then with the announcement of No Escape, my interest was piqued. Not only did I enjoy the concept of the film, the idea sounded great, I was also happy to see a few bigger names attached that I enjoy, such as Owen Wilson, Lake Bell, and the always charming, sometimes ass kicking Pierce Brosnan.
No Escape is a good action-thriller that takes place when Jack and Annie Dwyer (Owen Wilson/Lake Bell) end up smack dab in the midst of a terrifying revolution in a South East Asian country, their only hope is to stick together, to protect their family, and their only helping hand is a British man named Hammond (Pierce Brosnan).
There’s a special place in my heart for any movie that can make me physically, viscerally react. Many of the scenes and extended sequences are so suspenseful it makes you want to yell to the characters, they’ll make you feel right in the middle of the action, as if you’re about to be hit with a stray bullet, or hacked with a machete. There are a few faults, and one or two things I felt were overkill. However, the overall effectiveness of the movie is heavy, thrilling, and more than a few times you’ll find yourself checking the time left because the heart and the blood pressure can only take so much of this nerve wracking action.
Pic1 The use of slow-motion is contentious for me. There are times it’s overused to the point it becomes nothing exceptional, only a bit of flash and eventually it’s like noise, it annoys you. In the beginning stages of the violent revolution there’s an excellent bit of slow-motion that makes things feel incredibly intense. And it’s only a few shots, perfectly used, to amplify that intensity. Afterwards we’re thrown into the visceral pulse of the streets, as Jack is caught directly in the middle of the revolution’s beginnings. Later, we do get more slow-motion, though I don’t think it’s overdone. They give us a little reprieve now and then from all the chaos.
There’s a pace filled to the brim by adrenaline that never really lets up. A few brief lulls between the action shift down gears, but for the most part we’re completely immersed in the pounding energy. Starting with an assassination, a nasty throat cutting, everything starts with a bang. The initial breakout of the revolution is a solid 10 or 15 minute sequence that will make your asshole pucker. Nothing ever really slows down until about 45 minutes into the movie. It’s just tension and suspense to the maximum. Alongside bloody, violent effects that illustrate a nasty coup going on in this unnamed, fictional country. As the plot moves forward the settings change at a rapid pace in combination with bigger, more wild effects from helicopters crashing to pieces of buildings toppling and more.
Pic2 What I love is that this action-thriller is built on the foundation of some quality acting. First off, there’s Owen Wilson and Lake Bell as the lead couple. They’re both good actors, but they worth so well naturally as a couple that it’s impressive. Wilson plays the family man well, and once things break out he becomes this really great character whose entire being is focused on getting his family to safety. He has the confidence and the vulnerability in equal measures to make the performance stand out. Bell is as confident and vulnerable with the added touch of having that motherly quality. She plays the wife well, but does the mother even better. There’s a touching, tragic scene where she has to tell one of her daughters it’s okay to pee in her pants, essentially because if not they’ll be found out; the way Bell plays this scene off is just too much to handle, in the best sort of sense. And we’ve also got Pierce Brosnan, whose talents do not go unnoticed. This old bad ass role is better than the many Taken copies because he’s not some lone guy out kicking ass. He’s stuck in a genuinely life threatening, insane situation. Plus it isn’t a whole movie filled with Brosnan kicking the shit out of people. He simply adds a great element, this character, and Brosnan does well with the role. He’s mysterious, as well as a real white knight. Thankfully this is one of his better performances as of late.
I can’t not give this movie 4 stars. I went in expecting a decent few thrills, came out emotionally drained. No Escape plays on a lot of fears, from the tourist abroad in an unknown place to the worry of having your family put in the way of horrible danger. The actors are able to carry an excellent story, making you feel every last bit of the terror these people are experiencing. Start to finish, this movie has the action to keep you interested, it contains an enormous dose of heart. Maybe it isn’t your thing. But don’t say this movie isn’t packed with the goods. It is, and proves that Dowdle can handle all sorts of different projects. I hope to see more from him soon. This is a quality piece of action-thriller cinema that deserves to be experienced, full intensity and volume.