Blog - Mr Robot

August 2015 - Mr Robot

A few people at work had mentioned this to me.. I finally got round to binge watching it.
The first thing you notice is that episodes are named as filenames, each of which is a video file format using a different codec. Geeky :)

premise (no real spoilers)

A young man (late 20's) scarred by the death of his father in early childhood, withdraws into a world of drug use and clinical depression.
Though clearly suffering from some kind of high functioning autism or aspergers, he manages to hold down a job as an IT security analyst.
When not working, he spends his time hacking (usually individuals), for which he has great skill.
As season one progresses, he finds himself drawn ever deeper into the side effects of his hacking, becoming mixed up with some bad people.
Much of which is seen from his perspective, in some cases delusional.

unstructured thoughts (spoilers)

Rami Malek (the pharoh from night at the museum) is great for this role.
In places he lays it on way too thick, but by and large he plays the role well.

Martin Wallström and Stephanie Corneliussen (no wiki, but definately look her up!) play a couple of mental Scandinavians.
When they speak alone Martin (Tyrell) speaks Swedish and Stephanie (Joanna) speaks Danish. The resulting conversations are gloriously sparse, like Ikea furniture. They say 10 words, and the English subtitiles scroll on for hours.
Tyrell himself is off the side, bat-shit crazy Rangoon. I think his (Wallström's) piercing blue eyes add to his disturbing persona.
In the Samuel L Jackon version of Shaft (2000), there's a character called Walter Wade played by Christian Bale. He's probably the closest analogue we have for Tyrell.
Another Character from Shaft (Peebles) is represented in Mr Robot too, a drug dealer known as Fernand Vera (played very convincingly by Elliot Villar).

The whole series is also littered with references to other films and TV series. There are moments when Christian Slater's character essentially reperforms a scene from The Matrix.
There are moments from Fight Club including the soundtrack itself, and loads of other small homages, almost all of them to cult films beloved by IT professionals.

As for the technical parts. In the series they use the phrase 'script kiddy'. A script kiddy is someone who runs someone elses code in order to try and hack a system.
The people who write this code (tools that exploit loopholes in code) spend hundreds of hours working tediously on a tiny part of a problem. Generally hacking is a community activity. Almost all hackers are script kiddies to some extent. A program like this hasn't got the time to show just how protracted the work of hacking really is.

Consequently this program still shows a glitzy representation of hacking, in which in a matter of minutes a person can gain access to a system and retrieve the data they want.
However, it's still a billion times more accurate than any other depiction of hackers in TV or film.

The big twist towards the end of the first series seems a little bit laboured. You have to just 'go with it'.

I would like to know who's hack profile is stored on the Van Halen - 1984 CD. Elliot's choice of albums is just great :)

I wasn't overly happy with the twist in episode nine. But I suppose it gives them a new direction in which they can take the narrative.

in other news this month

Today was the day (25th Aug) that Google put up a message saying (I paraphrase) : 'we watch and process everything you do, if you don't like it you can quit'. As expected I clicked the 'yes I know, please carry giving all my stuff to your government' button. Evil Corp.