A gloomy, desolate future; the ability to escape it by plugging into a thrilling parallel world fraught with danger as well as diversion; appearance of real-world danger from that game. Stop me if you’ve heard this before.
After the disappointing fourth season of “Westworld” on HBO, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy return as executive producers of Amazon’s “The Peripheral.” The television series created by Scott Smith tells the story of Flynne Fisher (Chloë Grace Moretz), who lives in a near future North Carolina that is bleached of hope and spirit. Flynne is looking for medicine to help her ailing mother; In her quest, she helps her brother (Jack Reynor) by replacing him in testing a simulated virtual world that feels strangely real. She arrives in London in 2099, in a body she controls as a “peripheral” force, guided by a benevolent new friend (Gary Carr) and confronts a powerful evil force (T’ Nia Miller is very strong). Before long, Flynne is under real threat, with a multi-million dollar blow already being placed on her in the real world.
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The series, based on a novel by cyberpunk pioneer William Gibson, boasts masterfully directed action that rubs uncomfortably with a deeply enthralling run time; No matter how good the chase scenes are, we need a break when individual parts stretch past the mark. This insistence on audience retention does not consistently provide insights; despite how much time we spend with her and despite Moretz’s best efforts, Flynne is still just a prototype. Reynor, with its strange Southern accent, sounds a little better, though both Carr and Miller, denizens of the virtual world, get more notes to play – showing just how much interest in the game. of this show than in Flynne’s live reality when unplugged.
It seems, consistently, a taste-level issue here, a shame for a show that is clearly the beneficiary of serious work and money to impress us. It seems that the way this series sets itself apart from other similar stories is by going further, or the way we get away from Flynne’s grim life is by enhancing the surrealism. The violence is often grotesque, such as when a mercenary sees an enemy’s arm blow up, then drives a car over him; Victims cower in fear, begging even though they can’t move. I would hesitate to meet someone who thinks this is effective storytelling, just as I think I’ll feel dumbfounded by anyone who finds the sixth episode title “Fuck You and Eat Shit” more juvenile position.
The ambition here seems to be to rub our faces against the brutality of where humanity is headed. That’s one of the disappointments of “Westworld,” a one-off investigation into the potential of advanced artificial intelligence that has lost its flexibility and nerve, over time. The moment I feel most connected to Flynne, a character that crosses two realities that is almost never documented as real to me, is a scene in which, in virtual reality, she realizes gets a prophecy of what lies ahead for her and the human race. It’s so bad news, of every possible ridge, that the mind goes limp; As with the rest of “The Peripheral,” it exists as information rather than narrative. And it’s illustrated by a technically impressive shape-shifting sphere that can emit smoke that obscures everything. “Make it stop!” Flynn shouted. I know exactly how she feels.
“The Peripheral” premieres the first two episodes on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, October 21, with new episodes following weekly.
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