A TV show about a hacker who wants to fight capitalism and hates Marvel movies? With “Mr. Robot” I coulnd’t resist to watch the whole first season in a marathon. The series combines a lot of social and psychoanalytic themes of “Fight Club” with modern problems of our technological present. A masterpiece!
What the hack is it about?
“Mr. Robot” is a TV show that aired on May 27th on the American television channel USA Network that is known for reruns of former series and movies and didn’t have a successful show by its own so far. But with “Mr. Robot” this could have changed because the show already got a second season before the first one even started. In Germany you can watch the series on Amazon, XBox Video, iTunes and Videoload.
The story is about the young software engineer Elliot (Rami Malek) who suffers from a social anxiety disorder and that’s why he can not form social connections. When he meets someone new, the first thing he does is hacking their social media accounts in order to inform himself about that person’s private life and problems. He connects with people by playing the role of a guardian angel and trying to solve their problems or even pursuing criminals as a cyber vigilante. But he’s bored with his workaday life as a programmer in a computer security company and longs for bigger missions. Here the anarchist Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) comes into play who wants to recruit Elliot for the hacker group fsociety. Together they plan to shut down the large corporation E Corp (dubbed “Evil Corp” by Elliot) in order to cancel all debts and make the global financial system collapse.
Hello, “Fight Club”
When you look at the story you can already see parallels to “Fight Club”. The protagonist Elliot talks in the show permanently to his imaginary friend to whom he explains his actions step by step. He has mental problems and therefore he isn’t averse to drug use that causes him hallucinations every now and then. Last but not least in one of the key scenes of the show also the Pixies song “Where Is My Mind” plays. This character constellation of an alienated anti-hero makes him a brilliant, complex character that, because he fights against capitalism, of course also picks up on a further principal topic of David Fincher’s film.
The creator of the series, Sam Esmail, says himself that movies like “Taxi Driver”, “American Psycho”, “The Matrix” and especially “Fight Club” inspired him in making the show. A main character with a split personality that rejects capitalism and takes action against the establishment, suggests it. But also his cultural background was a big influence on him. Esmail’s family comes from Egypt and for this reason the Arab spring had a huge impact on his show – the fact that young people who were angry at society used social media to bring about a change. But he was fascinated by hacker culture too – and that you can notice.
Because he accomplished to reanimate the Occupy movement against the Wall Street (in spirit) by creating a cyber-thriller that combines nihilistic pessimism about technology with income inequality and capitalism. How Elliot already realised: “What I’m about to tell you is top secret. A conspiracy bigger than all of us. There is a powerful group of people out there that are secretly running the world. I’m talking about the guys no one knows about, the guys that are invisible. The top one percent of the top one percent, the guys that play god without permission.”
That’s why the show is so good and makes everyone who has a little Robin Hood inside him long for season two.