The irruption of Netflix in the making of commercial feature films for the general public has had, albeit with its pluses and minuses, a positive effect: here are those more or less generic (and genre) movies, of medium size and budget, based on talent of its stars and its director, of those that were always made in Hollywood until everything was “hyperfranchised” to the core. spider-head is one of those films, a thriller with two relevant actors (Chris Hemsworth is about to release Thor and Miles Teller seems to have found his place in Top Gun: Maverick) and a director, Joseph Kosinski, who after the success of, precisely, the aforementioned sequel with Tom Cruise is crying out to be part of the big leagues.
spider-head, with a script by those responsible for Deadpool and Welcome to Zombieland (based on a story published in The New Yorker 12 years ago) does, however, suffer from some of the vices associated with Netflix, and that we could basically summarize in not taking full advantage of idea. The script has an attractive premise in the key of a sci-fi thriller with a strong moral component but, beyond its attractive approach with a paranoid science fiction setting from the 60s, the strength of the industrial and clinical images provided by Kosinski, of the work of its leading partner (which we will talk about now) the film does not finish developing those propositions, generating situations that adequately exploit the scaffolding proposed by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, Kosinski and their acting duo.
Welcome to Spiderhead, a spectacular compound located on a paradisiacal island where a group of inmates voluntarily submit to experimentation with certain pharmacological substances. At the controls of the investigation, Steve (Chris Hemsworth), a scientist with the look of a hipster executive (you know: boat shoes without socks, skinny pants, subscription to Apple Music and a muscular body) who finds in Jeff (Miles Teller), a young man tormented by a recent event, the best of his guinea pigs. Naturally, and due to a series of minor events or coincidences, the apparent balance of power in Spiderhead is about to change…
And it does so thanks to the duel of two young actors who want more. On the one hand, Teller’s well-cared stoicism, which seems to have picked up the pace after some unfortunate artistic decisions, but above all thanks to Chris Hemsworth, the best of the interpreters coming out of the Marvel factory and definitely a personality wanting more, much, much more. The comical and shameless mood that the Australian imprints on the classic cliché of the “mad doctor” gives us the key to interpret the best assets of the film, updating by himself the mythical figure of, say, a Vincent Price or Herbert West, to the Corporate America of this millennium, the one that hides behind the undisguised “woke” speech features of sociopathy and in which we are already immersed. With these wicks, it is therefore a bit sad that neither the script nor Kosinski (who demonstrates, on the other hand, his cinematographic and camera dominance not only in the action sequences, rather scarce) manage to get more out of what is finally and after all it is a latent confrontation of social classes.
The result, however, is one of the Netflix original films that best balances its (limited) claims with its (absolutely entertaining) results. One that does not develop the idea of him or provide genuine tension but at least it does reflect, in an entertaining and fun way, a society capable of selling its soul to the highest corporate bidder in order to suffer a little less.
Spiderhead premieres on Netflix on June 17.
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The Netflix movie where they create a new American “woke” psycho