We find ourselves in an age of despair, an age of wanderlust, an age of Trump. You might think that’s hyperbole but regardless of your political affiliation you feel that despair. You see it in our news, our entertainment, hell you might even see it in your dreams.
Maniac rejects this despair, it gives us hope and it does this through masterclass storytelling in an innovative and surrealistic style. Maniac tells the story of a group of people battling their inner demons of loss, psychosis, and family problems. Owen and Annie find themselves as part of a drug trial that works in tandem with a computer simulation in an effort to cure their mental issues.
We meet Owen who is either schizophrenic or the chosen one, who joins the trial as part of his mission to save the world. Annie on the other hand is addicted to a drug used in the trial that makes her relive the worst day of her life and she can’t get enough. Why, how, and what is happening are questions you may ask at the start of your journey through this series.
The journey will take you from a lemur rescue mission to a con job to steal the mythical lost chapter of Don Quixote from lunar cultists. Fukunaga in showcases his skills demonstrates himself to be a first-rate director. He takes us into the world of whatever genre fits the character emotions at that moment in time.
It’s clear why the studios want him to direct Bond, but when you watch you can imagine he probably had to turn down Lord of The Rings. The writing and the acting skills of Jonah Hill, Emma Stone and the rest of the cast will touch your emotional core.
Critics are giving this show a 76 on Metacritic and classify it as a comedy. I mean the comedy here is that movie critics are so out of touch they can’t even figure out a TV show’s genre. I would classify it under adventure with drama and comedy as subgenres by the way. I will grant that it might not be everyone’s taste and it might speak to certain types of people more.
But I always come back to the image of the critic in Ratatouille and I wonder do they yearn to constantly see the despair they feel in their media. Will they ever try that Ratatouille and give that rat who dreams of so much more the praise he deserves. Will they ever stop taking the A pill, can we confront the problems we face while still being hopeful?