Utopia assessment: A nasty case of reel imitating actual
September 25, 2020 8:51:28 pm
Utopia forged: John Cusack, Rainn Wilson, Sasha Lane, Dan Byrd and Javon Walton
Utopia creator: Gillian Flynn
Utopia score: Two stars
A contagious virus with no vaccine, and large pharma scrambling to make thousands and thousands. No these will not be headlines from a newspaper. These are the plot arcs from Amazon Prime Video’s newest big-ticket providing Utopia. All of it begins slightly innocuously, as issues normally do, in an outdated home in suburban Chicago the place a lone unique copy of Utopia — a comic book guide — surfaces. The looks of Utopia, a sequel to Dystopia, sends the comedian guide universe right into a tizzy, attracting bidders from throughout. Enter a bunch of ragtag younger adults who geek out over the comedian guide. They’ve by no means met in actual life, however have shaped a friendship primarily based on on-line discussions and dissections of the stated comedian guide. Plans are hatched to put their arms on Utopia as a result of it has the keys to occasions which can be unfolding round them. The group shares a slightly unhealthy obsession of conspiracy theories, however they don’t seem to be the one ones coveting the comedian guide. Absolutely, the protagonist of the comedian guide herself, Jessica Hyde (Sasha Lane) too needs a chunk of the motion. Then there are the trigger-happy unhealthy guys who won’t cease at something to get the comedian guide of their possession. Whereas the group performs disguise and search with the unhealthy guys, aided by Hyde, a lethal virus has unleashed itself across the US and individuals are dying in hordes. We meet John Cusack (Kevin Christie) who heads an enormous pharma firm, after which there’s Michael Stearns (Rainn Wilson), a virologist, who meanders his approach into the center of all of it.
The timing of the present couldn’t have been worse, or finest, relying in your pursuits within the ‘pandemic style’. The ‘unfold of a lethal virus’ has been par for the course in lots of TV exhibits, starting from police-procedurals to medical dramas. Home MD, The Good Physician and even the current season of The Resident had plots constructed round it. We’re conversant in how that pans out, however to have the identical theme unfold over eight lengthy episodes might be attempting. Utopia hits too near house, and the CDC employees clad in yellow hazmat swimsuit are too paying homage to the blue PPE kits that medical personnel are carrying all over the world as they combat Covid-19.
Do we actually wish to spend hours seeing what we’re coping with on a regular basis round us? The scene involving helpless mother and father, who’re protesting outdoors a faculty the place their kids are quarantined, is a mirrored image of what we’re present process as a society globally. We are able to’t even collect peacefully or in protest in actual life, it may be deadly.
Utopia might maybe be seen as pertinent to this time, nevertheless it is also perceived to be including to the nervousness and stress. Helmed by Gillian Flynn, Utopia is a remake of a 2013 British present. The unique had obtained its shares of criticism for being too violent and darkish. The American model apparently has toned down the violence quotient, however it’s nonetheless gory. A specific scene which entails a watch and a spoon will make even probably the most sturdy of present watchers squeamish. However taking a look at Flynn’s screenwriting oeuvre, she has no points with violence. Even in one thing like Gone Woman, she didn’t draw back from blood and gore: Keep in mind the scene with Rosamund Pike and Neil Patrick Harris? The issue with Utopia is it takes too lengthy to come back to the purpose. We run circles: into plots and subplots and backstories. Many lengthy scenes are utilized in attempting to decode the comedian guide with assist arriving from unusual quarters. It doesn’t have the tempo of a thriller, nor the gravitas of a ‘pandemic-drama’. The violence detracts from the primary plot, which oscillates between the ‘geeks shall save the world from imminent annihilation’ tangent and ‘man is the foundation reason behind all evil’. Perhaps at another time, the present would have made cinematic sense, and we’d have marvelled at this alternate world. However this can be a unhealthy case of reel imitating actual. You’re safer watching reruns of your favorite sitcoms as a substitute.
Utopia is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
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