Part “Mr. Robot,” part “Black Mirror”, Maniac lends an absurdity to contemporary anxieties and centres around powerful performances by Jonah Hill and Emma Stone. Hill plays Owen Milgrim, the melancholic and introverted son of a wealthy family which ridicules and takes advantage of him. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, Owen has visions telling him that a canny stranger named Annie Landsberg (Stone) will reveal to him his heroic, elaborate, secret mission in life.
Both victims of emotional trauma, Annie and Owen meet at a medical trial taking place within the Kubrickian labs of Japanese mega-corporation Neberdine Pharmaceutical Biotech (obligatory sci-fi grey jumpsuits and sleeping pods included). The subjects are there to test a radical new procedure set to eradicate human pain and suffering. Each subject is to be dosed with three pills: A, B and C. The combination of the drugs and an emotionally intelligent computer induce a dream-like state, attempting to cure the subject through a unique form of psychotherapy. Pill A forces each subject to relive their trauma; B exposes the minds defence mechanisms and blind spots; C prompts their confrontation and, finally, acceptance. You’ll be surprised to hear that this does not go entirely to plan.