WEIRDLAND: Postmodern dystopian bleakness: "Mr Robot" and "High-Rise" (Technology as Ultimate Destroyer)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Postmodern dystopian bleakness: "Mr Robot" and "High-Rise" (Technology as Ultimate Destroyer)

Almost all the scenes are dark — certainly all the scenes in Elliot’s apartment are — and feel gloomy in that familiar way. The brightest sources of light we can see are computer screens and Malek’s eyes, usually reflected in some kind of screen. It’s that same eerie, sleep-wrecking glow you get from checking your phone or laptop in bed. The most horrifying stuff isn’t what we can see. It almost doesn’t matter who is knocking on Elliot’s door at the end of the episode. The real violence in Mr. Robot isn’t what happens to other people, outside, on-screen. The real violence is internal, personal. It’s hallucinations clashing with reality; competing moralities waging war within. It’s not what’s out there. It’s all in your head. Source:

In an interview with Variety, Christian Slater reveals, "After reading episode 9, contemplating my future and wondering what was going to become of Mr. Robot and what his future would be, I felt those feelings of fear and panic - and I realized there was one person I could call to get these answers. And that's Sam Esmail. I asked him what the future of Mr. Robot is. And he shared that Mr. Robot is to Elliot what the Hulk is to Bruce Banner. So whenever Elliot is feeling backed into a corner, overwhelmed, scared, unable to take certain actions, Mr. Robot will step in and pull the trigger."

Slater adds if Mr. Robot knows where Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallström) is , "I know that Mr. Robot knows and he's going to keep it locked in a vault until he feels Elliot is capable and ready to handle what that answer is." Source:

It's based on a cult favorite dystopian novel, directed by a daring indie director, and features one of cinema's most exciting new stars. So it's not surprising that "High-Rise" has become one of the most anticipated titles of this year's Toronto International Film Festival.

"Ballard used to say he wasn't writing about who we are, but about who we might become... his books are like a roadside warning on a highway, as if to say: 'Caution: bends ahead.'" -Tom Hiddleston

Hiddleston plays Dr. Robert Laing, who is looking for anonymity among the thousands of residents in a 40-story apartment complex. Instead, he finds chaos, madness and violence escalating all around him as the building descends into tribal factions. With a cast that also includes Jeremy Irons, Luke Evans, Sienna Miller and Elisabeth Moss, the film is a disturbing microcosmic allegory that examines the perils of both joining in and shutting oneself off, a savage attack on consumerism, complacency and lifestyle obsession.

Few authors are so distinctive as to become a word all their own, and yet the term "Ballardian" has come to officially define a postmodern dystopian bleakness. After the long wait, Thomas said, "I think J.G. Ballard would be delighted with this adaptation." Source:

Technology as the Ultimate Destroyer - Amazon Review of "High-Rise" by Jeffrey Leach: "J.G. Ballard's 1975 novel High-Rise contains all of the qualities we have come to expect from this author: alarming psychological insights, a study of the profoundly disturbing connections between technology and the human condition, and an intriguing plot masterfully executed. Ballard, who wrote the tremendously troubling Crash, really knows how to dig deep into our troubling times in order to expose our tentative grasp of modernity. What starts out as a book about living in a technological marvel quickly morphs into a study of how technology can cause human beings to regress back into primitivism. Ballard shows in detail how the residents of the apartments sink back into the morass, passing through a classical Marxist structure of bourgeoisie-proletariat, moving on to a clan/tribal system, to a system of stark individuality. In short, Ballard tries to equate our striving towards individuality through technology with how we started out in our evolution as hunter-gatherers, as individuals seeking individual gains. The promise that technology will liberate the individual is not the highest form of evolution, argues Ballard, but is actually a return to the lowest forms of human expression." Source:

No comments :