Spiderhead, starring Chris Hemsworth and Miles Teller, first hit the screens on June 11th, 2022. The film is directed by Joseph Kosinski and is based on a screenplay written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Coincidentally, Kosinski also directed the recent hot favourite, Top Gun: Maverick, which also stars Teller.
The screenplay is based on the short story Escape from Spiderhead by George Saunders, which was first published in The New Yorker. As an audience, we are immediately overwhelmed by the sheer extravaganza of a state-of-the-art penitentiary. As the beginning of the film keeps us in the dark, we eventually discover how this facility performs regulated drug tests on its subjects.
Eventually, as the plot for Spiderhead unfolds, we become familiar with one of our protagonists, Jeff, and his past. Along with that, the way in which he lives in an enclosed space and only gets out of the facility whilst guided hints to us that he is held there against his choice, even though he often says the word “acknowledge”.
This sci-fi psychological thriller explores the pill-popping culture wherein answers to human problems are sought through drugs. In this case, Steve Abnesti (Hemsworth) is looking for a drug that stops making people feel lonely by helping them find their match. All this is under the influence of the drug on trial called N40.
Kosinski does a remarkable job of utilising all angles of the prison, and the film makes the viewer realise the lack of choice of the inmates. With that, although they seemed to have more freedom than a stereotypical prison setup, the authenticity of that notion comes into question. However, one of the most disappointing aspects of the film was the lack of context with the character Steve who controlled the spiderhead.
Chris Hemsworth was phenomenal in the role of this sociopath who set out to manipulate his test subjects implicitly to get what he wanted. The dark satirical humour is reflected throughout the film, and we encounter a kind person forming strong bonds with his subjects. However, flips to the dark side in the blink of an eye.
Unlike any other role he has ever played, Hemsworth manages to convince the viewers of the passion with which Abnesti worked towards testing the drug. Alongside, Lizzy (Jurnee Smollett) and Jeff get closer and wish to set themselves free from the crooked programme. This causes problems for the organisation, which soon crumbles under its own pressures once Mark Verlaine, who assisted Steve, outs him to the police.
We see a greedy troubled genius sink into his own pit of fire. Although the film was not as remarkable as it could have been, there is a lot to cherish. Aside from the lack of character development and interesting plot tweaks, the film stars a pool of supremely talented actors who are genuinely excellent at what they do.
When we reach a discussion on the talented cast, there is definitely a special mention. Chris Hemsworth stood out of the pool for his strong performance. He proved his versatility as an actor and that he is capable of much more than playing beer-hungry gods with superpowers. Watch the trailer for the movie below if you don’t want to miss out on an exceptionally outstanding performance by Chris Hemsworth.
Spiderhead is now streaming on Netflix.