Reviews: Review of “Spiderhead” (“Spiderhead”), by Joseph Kosinski, with Chris Hemsworth and Miles Teller (Netflix)

The director of the praised Top Gun: Maverick Shortly after, he shot a claustrophobic and dystopian prison story, although this time with fewer findings.

spider’s head (spider-head, United States/2022). Direction: Joseph Kosinski. Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller, Jurnee Smollett, Tess Haubrich, BeBe Bettencourt and Mark Paguio. Screenplay: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, based on the story Escape from Spiderhead by George Saunders, originally published in The New Yorker magazine. Photography: Claudio Miranda. Editing: Stephen Mirrione. Music: Joseph Trapanese. Duration: 106 minutes. Available on Netflix from Friday June 17.

In December 2010 the magazine The New Yorker public the story Escape from Spiderhead written by George Saunders and, based on that story, two screenwriters such as Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (responsible for the sagas of dead pool Y zombielandas well as from GI Joe: The Counterattack, Life: smart life Y squad 6) conceived a film for which Joseph Kosinski was hired as director.

But if a little less than a month ago we enthusiastically praised Kosinski’s sound narrator in Top Gun: Maverickin the case of spider’s head the result is not as exciting: it is a dystopia set in the near future in the framework of a “luxury” prison managed by Steve Abnesti (a charismatic and at the same time unleashed Chris Hemsworth), psychopathic and perverse billionaire who is dedicated to experimenting with designer drugs among inmates with the idea of ​​manipulating reactions and behaviors.

Among the guinea pigs are several long-term felony inmates who consent to being lab guinea pigs because Abnesti ensures them a much more comfortable life while serving their sentences. Among the participants in the often extreme testing is Jeff (Mills Teller, who also worked with Kosinski on the recent return of top gun), a young man who bears the blame for a tragic car accident caused by drinking alcohol; and women like Lizzy (Jurnee Smollett) and Heather (Tess Haubrich).

The main problem with this claustrophobic thriller (there are several others) is that it cannot decide between satire dominated by black humor (remember that it was written by the screenwriters of dead pool) or the search for a certain plausible plan to denounce the excesses that private investigation without external control can cause in the mental area. In addition, it ends up being too explicit and Manichaean in its resolution when it could have played with a certain mystery, suggestions and intrigues, with conflicts and characters with greater facets and nuances. But, it is known, subtlety is not the sign of these times, at least in much of the large-scale production of the streaming giants.


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Reviews: Review of “Spiderhead” (“Spiderhead”), by Joseph Kosinski, with Chris Hemsworth and Miles Teller (Netflix)