review by Bobby Blakey
The world knows and loves Chris Hemsworth as Thor in the MCU, as do I, but I look forward to seeing him take on different roles. His latest film, Spiderhead has him teaming up with the always great Miles Teller who is once again teaming up with his Top Gun: Maverick director Joesph Krasinski. The film co-stars Jurnee Smollett, Mark Paguio, and Nathan Jones from Deadpool and Zombieland writers Rhett Reece & Paul Wernick based on the short story “Escape From Spiderhead” by George Saunders. Could this flick manage to get you to engage in its ideal or will it fail to control your feelings?
Spiderhead follows the near future when convicts are offered the chance to volunteer as medical subjects in hopes of shortening their sentences. When one prisoner finds himself the test patient for a new pharmaceutical capable of generating feelings of love, he begins questioning the reality of his emotions and sets out to discover the truth.
Heading into this film I was intrigued by the trailers and now that I have seen it I am still having to sit with it to decide how I feel about it. On one side it is an intriguing story focusing on societal control much in the vein of the brilliant A Clockwork Orange, but way less artsy. On the other side is a slow paced story that delivers but takes a while to really find its footing.
Both Teller and Hemsworth are great here. Not only do they have great chemistry together, but they offer up some really great moments with Hemsworth really stealing the show in the third act. The controlling of feelings forces all the actors here to bounce through a sea of personalities and feelings that is pure acting on display. Not all of them work, but the majority of them really bring it to where you buy into the situation all the more.
As the film unfolds it is filled with moments of the bizarre, violence, insanity
and heart all wrapped up in a strange sci-fi bow. It is both simplistic and complicated in its design visually and in the science which makes it work for the story they are telling. It’s not overly exciting and even the ending and all the reveals never bring anything overly powerful minus one aspect, but somehow it is still compelling enough to engage your senses.
I think this is one of those movies that will divide people in how they feel about it overall. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but might have asked for a bigger payoff in the end, but at the same time the simplicity of it works. The overall message of the film focusing on control is all to relatable with everything going on in the world and in turn makes the film more relevant if you are able to see into the truth of what’s here.
In the end I have come to the conclusion that I do in fact really dig it, but one that doesn’t offer up enough to make it one to revisit again later. Decide for yourself and check out Spiderhead streaming exclusively now on Netflix.