Mr Robot on USA


#61

I know! I know it’s for the audience, but they should take more care in who to use for it. She is supposed to be a computer security expert, and the main character said she was one of the “good ones” in the same first episode. So it was the involuntary joke of the episode.

But apart from that moment, and a second one I can’t remember right now, they are doing it pretty good in that hacking area.


#62

Whoa! Great episode. Again, kind of wandering in terms of any main plot, but maybe I’m coming to terms with there not being a “point” to it all.


#63

That end. O_O

Yep, really tense and gripping. Pure thriller, even if the central plot didn’t move forward an inch.

edit: damnit the scene with Mr. Robot really got me thinking he is figment of his imagination.


#64

Yep, that was a good episode! Still exactly where we were in the main plot, but now Eliot has a conflict - will he go for revenge or keep his eyes on the prize (which is also revenge, come to think of it, but of a more high-minded kind)?

Glad to see some cracks in the facade of our Swedish iceman. Antagonists who are completely unflappable are seldom interesting for long.


#65

This show is excellent. Even love the presentation of the Title. Just great.


#66

Rami Malek’s hypnotic performance got me into this, but I think the entire production is starting to show flashes of greatness.


#67

Elliot is consistent in one way, if you screw with him or the people he cares about he will find a way to destroy you. Theres no way the dealer just rides into the sunset. They will meet again, after all Elliot is still owed a hug.


#68

Great episode. It was intriguing to see the two main players get played back, especially Tyrell. His wife is mesmerizing–you can understand how Tyrell would be in her thrall. The show puts me on edge throughout every episode, the music and camerawork are so unsettling. Fantastic presentation, like watching a short film every week.


#69

I’ve pretty much broken up with Mr. Robot, but I want to comment on this:

That’s certainly one way to describe it, but I find it grating. The mandate for the camerawork is to fill two-thirds of the frame with nothing and have the character address someone who’s offscreen. I tried to find a screenshot, but all I got from a Google image search was this shot from Elliot in a therapy session:

Then the reverse shot of the therapist will have her on the right side of the screen talking to Elliot who’s off to the right. So instead of a two-shot, or instead of intercutting the scene with the camera in the space between them, positioning the audience as if they’re part of the conversation, it fills the screen with irrelevant things and puts relevant things outside the borders.

I get it. You’re trying to show a sense of characters disconnected from each other. But it’s overdone and showy, like a film-school student pushing a gimmick too far. It furthermore distances the audience from the interaction between the actors and replaces their interaction with editing. Ugh. And I just can’t stop noticing it now. A little goes a long way, Mr. Robot. A little more goes too far.

-Tom


#70

Tom - I can see your point, and I am usually wary of gimmicks (they can be great if done well, but they rarely are). There was a scene in the last episode where Elliot is talking to Angela on the street in front of his building, and they use the same camera technique you describe above. However, this time the characters were standing adjacent to each other and the geometry of the one-shots was such that if you were the camera, Angela was in the far right of her frame and Elliot was in the far left of his. It made them seem even closer, unnervingly close, than if they had shot them both in the same frame standing next to each other. It was noticeable in contrast to the usual distancing created by the off-center one-shots, and I thought it was effective in relaying the tension of the conversation. The two actors crammed against the side of separate frames gave it a claustrophobic vibe while showing how close the characters are based on their common tragedy.


#71

Right, that’s exactly what I’m describing! The show does it several times an episode, in varying situations. I can see how your interpretation – two characters close together because of a common tragedy – might justify it in that situation. But do you now apply that interpretation to all the other instances? :) My guess is the intention is to show Elliot’s disconnectedness even when he’s close to someone, although I’m pretty sure it’s been done in scenes where he isn’t present. Actually, I wonder now if I’m wrong about that…

I do appreciate that it’s different. I just think the show is a little too in love with the technique. It’s like when Breaking Bad kept sticking micro-cameras on the end of something a character was holding. It was intriguing the first two, maybe three, times. From there it just got gratuitous.

-Tom


#72

I agree with Tom, they do overuse that type of shot and sometimes it’s irritating. Mostly it works, but sometimes - just do a normal shot already. When something like that is overused, it loses impact precisely because of it becoming the new normal.


#73

Can you give an example of this done well? I knew something was bugging me about the style but I couldn’t figure out what it was.


#74

The last episode is where the framing kind of got to me in an “OK I GET IT” kind of way. I think it would work for a 90-120 minute movie setup but when you have 10 hours of it, it can feel relentless.

Here are 4 examples I took from the last episode (minor spoilers?). If I had more time I could find more extreme examples where a character takes up 10% of the frame on a far corner. It can look absurd.

Still, I think that the show is by far the best thing out this summer. Love the cast, mood, music, title card, (somewhat) realistic hacking procedures, the dog. I even do like the direction, though it just goes a bit far.


#75

Maybe they are doing that because people are used to having everything neatly centered and framed for them and this provides a overall contrast to the norm. Maybe it isnt over use in the directors mind, maybe its meant to be evocative and intentionally disconcerting.


#76

I agree about the camera work, but I also think rshetts has a point, that it may be to invoke a sense of disconnection and be intentionally disconcerting to put the viewer on edge. This show thrives on the feeling of unease. It’s not just Elliott and his obvious social issues, it’s damn near every character having quirks, mannerisms and/or issues that make the viewer uneasy in some way.

I also think the framing of scenes in that way could relate back to the fact that we’re still unsure if Mr. Robot is real or not. I’m four episodes in and I was convinced Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) was a figment of Elliott’s imagination, but then once or twice in Episode 4 the older African American hacker seemed to directly address Mr. Robot (and I’m not counting the withdraw dream sequence, which REALLY threw me off at first as everyone seemed to be taking to him). From the previews of Episode 5 it looks like it happens again at least a couple of times. So now I’m on the fence again. Is he Elliott’s alter-ego, or is he a real person? Always showing other people’s interactions with Elliott in separate frames, but then having Mr. Robot almost always be in-frame with Elliott may be a subtle way to convey that he and Elliott are the same person…


#77

Man, you guys sure think a lot about what cameras point at. NERDS! :)


#78

One other point about the camerawork - More than once Elliot refers to the audience as a character and possible figment of his imagination. Could it be the shots are designed to make it look like we, the audience, are standing in the scene looking at what’s happening? And that virtual character is not right next to the characters, but back a ways?


#79

W.T.F. has Wellick gone and done?
And Eliot opening up like that to his therapist, wow.


#80

That Wellick scene played perfectly thanks to the song choice. I have no idea which song that was, but it worked there. The good parts of the show are really good, and luckily any Elliot scene qualifies.