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A Netflix Anatomy - Mr Robot

All the inspirations behind Sam Esmail's cult series

A Netflix Anatomy - Mr Robot  All the inspirations behind  Sam Esmail's cult series

A young man with a double life: by day employee of a company that deals with computer security to large companies, the night executioner computer.

A skilled hacker, a high-functionality sociopath trapped in his mind. Elliot Anderson, the star of Mr Robot played by Rami Malek is a genius suffering from mental disorders who spends an isolated life hacking and doing morphine, upset when he meets Mr. Robot (Christian Slater), the leader of a group of hackers called F society. Result? With them, the guy will become head of the largest cyber-attack that will send haywire America.
This is the beginning of one of the most acclaimed TV series in recent years.

Its creator Sam Esmail, frustrated in front of the pitiful characterization that cinema has always been reserved for hackers and computer science, inspired by the idea that technology and the network can change the world, he sat in front of the computer and gave created the first "hacking-drama". It is a hallucinatory journey into which the cyberpunk William Gibson and pop in recent years culture, Back to the Future and Taxi Driver, Gerry by Gus Van Sant and, especially, Fight Club by David Fincher.

But what is the secret of Mr Robot?

The plot: complex, winding in which what we see is constantly between reality and fiction, imagination, between what we tell ourselves in order to survive and what is actually happening.

Music: diverse, full of industrial sounds and music bands of the rock scene in the eighties and nineties as Pixies, Sonic Youth, The Cure.

The protagonists: not only Elliot and his black hoodie. Not only Mr. Robot and his revolution, but also the beautiful and messed Darlene (Carly Chaikin) Malik's character sister and prominent member of the F-Society; Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallstrm) the villain with the angelic face and the American Psycho look willing to do anything to become the youngest Chief Technology Officer of E-Corp (aka Evil Corp aka the multinational that Anderson feels responsible for the death of his father); Angela Moss (Portia Doubleday) Elliot's old time friend who insecure girl becomes PR person of the Evil Corp and key figure in the series second season.

The reasons for following the show produced by USA Network are many.

 Feel like: Banksy

Secret identity, war, capitalism, freedom and an art for a long time underestimated. Banksy and Mr. Robot have more than one thing in common. We don’t know who they really are, and when they hit, while the rest of the world is asking this and more, they are engaged in a revolution. A revolution without a face, without words, but not voiceless.

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We don’t know who they really are, and when they hit, while the rest of the world is asking this and more, they are engaged in a revolution. A revolution without a face, without words, but not voiceless.

A revolution without a face, without words, but not voiceless.

Dress like: Jil Sander

There is only one clothing item for which Mr Robot will be remembered: the black hoodie.

Elliot Alderson/Rami Malek wears it constantly like an armor, an urban combat uniform that hides him, protects him from the world, and sometimes even from himself. If for him exists only his B Scott (sweatshirt that comes straight from Malek's closet), his alter ego Mr. Robot aka Christian Slater opts for a more eclectic look. His clothes are a mix of models and eras, elements rotating around a key piece: an'80s computer repairman jacket coming from Universalis stock decorated with Mr. Robot patches.

If the male protagonists of the TV series reserve few concessions to fashion, it's up to the girls pull off the style.

The most iconic? No doubt, she's Darlene. Elliot sister loves vintage pieces, knee socks, high waisted shorts, Lolita styled heart glasses, prints mash-up, furry and boyfriend jackets. She is the millennial and hipster version of Marla Singer/Helena Bonham Carter in Fight Club, although when wears her fur coat looks like the brunette copy of Jenny Curran/Robin Wright in Forrest Gump. The major fashionista evolution during the two seasons of the show broadcast on USA Network belongs to Angela Moss. The insecure girl who seeks to assert herself now making career, working for E Corp and spends a lot of money earned in tailored shirts, jackets and trousers.

"We wanted her to be this very no-nonsense sort of masculine, strong character" - said the costume designer Catherine Marie Thomas - "One of the people we referenced was Tilda Swinton because she has that very beautiful, androgynous, strong, very high-fashion look".

Think like: Hacking for dummies

 

If you also looking at Mr Robot with your teenager small programming genius nephew you feel ignorant, the book more suitable to read during bingewatching the show is just one: Hacking for dummies. If you want to impress someone who loves Elliot and co. flaunt Mr.Robot: Red Wheelbarrow by Sam Esmail and Courtney Looney revealing the backstory of the series and spoilers on continuous history.

Finally, if you are pseudo-intellectual fans and you want only others like you to look at you with admiration and complicity opt for the books that the character of Christian Slater reads in the episodes: Tolstoj's Resurrection or From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E . Frankweiler by EL Konigsburg.

Sound like: Everybody wants to rule the world by Tears for Fears

 

The man behind Mr Robot soundtrack is Mac Quayle, the same who has also worked for the American Horror Story series and Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive.

His is the theme of Elliot, a bubbling sequence of notes and a library of about 150 beep, ping, blip, swooshes that goes back and forth between major and minor, light and dark, mirror of what happens inside his head .

"When we had our very first conversation in L.A." - says the artist in an interview - "Sam (Esmail) said he wanted Mr. Robot to be rooted in a retro-synthesizer sound. Iím very comfortable in that space musically so for me it was a great opportunity to let this synth pulse be completely, unashamedly electronic".

The composer prefers idiosyncratic bursts of sounds that translate Elliot's disconnection from reality. Quayle goes from the obsessive rhythm of electronic music to emphasize the most tense moments to songs that lull the mind for those more dreamy, coming to a symphony of synthesizers and samplers. In this heterogeneous soundtrack there are Neil Diamond, Nancy Sinatra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, a music box version of Basket Case by Green Day, The Cure, Jim Carroll, Mozart, ... but what are the most beautiful musical moments?

For Quayle it is the long sequence in episode five of the first season in which the F Society tries to infiltrate the Steel Mountain, but there are many others. Some? FKA Twigs singing Two Weeks while Tyrell Wellick kills Sharon Knowles; the piano cover of Where Is My Mind? by Pixies, yet another mention of Fight Club; Phil Collins' Take Me Home when Brian Stokes Mitchell, E Corp executive, burns 4 million dollars at the behest of the Society F; Angela that in a karaoke bar sings Everybody wants to rule the world (nomen omen) by Tears for Fears, finally letting surface emotions that attempted to suppress. 

Taste like: Pop corn 

Love like: Christian Slater

The things of Mr Robot" that you may love are many.
There is the plot, the directing, the super curated photography, the dialogues-manifesto, the looks of Darlene and Angela, Rami Malek's expressive face and his outstanding performance as an actor with co-star Christian Slater.

But nss (or who's writing) choose just him: Slater.

The cult actor who in the '80s and' 90s has produced masterpieces (real sometimes only in our hearts) as HeathersGleaming the CubeTrue RomanceUntamed Heart "and Interview with the Vampire. As it happened to other underrated and talented actors once at the top, from Winona Ryder to Drew Barrymore, up to Kevin Bacon, a TV series (in the case of our Christian the latest in a not lucky slew) now makes him justice.