In a state-of-the-art penitentiary run by the brilliant visionary Steve Abnesti (Chris Hemsworth), inmates wear a surgical device that administers doses of mind-altering drugs in exchange for a reduced sentence. There are no bars, no cells, no orange jumpsuits. In Spiderhead, the incarcerated volunteers are free to be themselves. Until they're not. Sometimes they're a better version. Need to relax? There's a drug for that. Don't know what to say anymore? There's a drug for that too. But when two subjects, Jeff (Miles Teller) and Lizzy (Jurnee Smollett), make a connection, their path to redemption takes a more sinuous turn as Abnesti's experiments begin to push the boundaries of free will.
"What I love about George Saunders’ writing, in addition to how profound his ideas are, is that it's always funny, dark, twisted, and emotional. He's able to combine all these things and pack them into his stories in a way that sucks you in and sticks with you long after you've put the book down. It was something I wanted to strive for with this film: to give it a tone and a vibe that captures some of what was in George's writing. "Joseph Kosinski
While Top Gun Maverick is a worldwide success with three million admissions in France and is still in theaters, Netflix already offers us to discover the new film of director Joseph Kosinski. On a script by the duo Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Deadpool 1&2 (2016, 2018), 6 underground (2019). Spiderhead cleverly revisits the short story Escape From Spiderhead by George Saunders, originally published in the New Yorker, and offers us a futuristic version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) crossed with the prison and escape film, whose springs we know well enough to guess the possible end long beforehand. However, behind this huis-clos set in an ultramodern penitentiary, Spiderhead shows with a touch of humor that drugs of all kinds will never be the real key to find his inner balance.
It is interesting to see that director Joseph Kosinski continues to grasp his vision of a barely optmist future in which new technologies are at the very center of the next stage of human evolution. Whether it's a hypersonic SR-72 Darkstar futuristic plane from Top Gun Maverick, a futuristic game like in Tron: Legacy (2010) or human cloning (Oblivion (2013), the appreciation of a probable future remains at the center of each of this gifted director's films. Certainly Spiderhead does not reach the perfection of Top Gun Maverick nor the perfect rhythm but also allows the spectators to immerse themselves in a film just as bewitching and magnified by a solid cast in which the director finds again the actor Miles Teller (Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw in the sequel to Top Gun and also present in the credits of his film Only The (20177 ) but also Chris Hemsworth (of whom we are waiting for with great impatience Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), Tyler Rake 2 (Extraction 2) (2022) and especially Furiosa (2024)) and actress Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Birds of Prey (2020)).
The main action of the film takes place in a futuristic penitentiary in which a visionary scientist Steve Abnesti (Chris Hemsworth) tries a revolutionary treatment on voluntary prisoners by injecting them with various psychotropic drugs. In this prison on the open sea, the inmates can move freely as long as they play the game and serve as guinea pigs and let their natural instincts express themselves during very special sessions. Unfortunately, things don't work out the way they should and Jeff (Miles Teller) and Rachel (Jurnee Smollett) have to join forces to find a way to escape from this prison.
Once again, the director Joseph Kosinski delivers a film with impeccable aesthetics and shows that he knows perfectly how to create a captivating atmosphere, whether by the important work on the sound, the presence of many songs and especially the music of composer Joseph Trapanese. In the same way, while Spiderhead could have played the card of the American blockbuster mixing science fiction and action, the story remains quite linear in its development and prefers to highlight the dangers of new technologies and treatments of all kinds and especially the psychology of the characters and their evolution or recovery. Even if Spiderhead is not Joseph Kosinski's best film, it allows us to find actors that we appreciate and whose presence on the screen clearly shows that they have really invested themselves in their roles.
We dive into this film that will not remain as one of the best films of the year 2022 but which is sufficiently innovative and gripping to watch with pleasure and to say to ourselves that the best treatment will never be the treatments of all kinds but the true love that allows us to build a better future.
Directed by Joseph Kosinski
Screenplay by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Based on Escape From Spiderhead by George Saunders
Produced by Eric Newman, Chris Hemsworth, Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Agnes Chu, Geneva Wasserman, Tommy Harper, Jeremy Steckler
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller, Jurnee Smollett
Cinematography : Claudio Miranda
Edited by Stephen Mirrione
Music by Joseph Trapanese
Production companies : Grand Electric, The New Yorker Studios