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Maniac Review – A Psychological Circus and a Hell of a Drug

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Netflix’s ‘Maniac’ could have been titled aptly. It is a truly maniacal ride and the lead characters have justified the title. It has been a treat to watch Jonah Hill and Emma Stone together, and if at all you were able to make sense of it, it is one of those most memorable watches in your life.  This show is a genius puzzle for you to solve it. There are just too many things in the show that will confuse you and in order to get clarity, you need to watch it more than once. Emma Stone is the center of the drama, making it irresistible. Maniac follows the story of Owen Milgrim and Annie Landsberg where two strangers are drawn through a mysterial trail involved with the pharmaceutical industry. Both of them have their own reasons to get exposed to this trail.

Annie is shown as an aimless depressed human being who has broken bonds with her sister and mother. Owen, on the other hand, is the fifth son of the New York industrialist who has suffered his whole life because of chronic schizophrenia. Neither of them has perfect lives and therefore through this new treatment invented by Dr. James Mantleray through a series of pills, their brains can be repaired of heartbreak and mental illness. This new treatment draws their and ten others’ attention and they get together at the Neberdine Pharmaceutical Laboratory for a three-day trial. Before the trail, they are assured that there will not be any side effects or complications and that their problems will get solved permanently.

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Maniac can be considered as an experimental show about a mental illness. It is not only addictive but is wild and makes the teeters oscillate between reality and fantasy. The audience will not be able to realize which is the truth and which is not for so long. Maniac has only around ten episodes and is one of the best series that you could watch in this year. It repeatedly bounces you in and out of the brains while it hop-skips you from one genre to another between romance, drama, and thriller. However, it manages to have a spiraling control on you while detouring you to WTF world every now and then. Maniac has a new and fresh narrative that has the stories of two New Yorkers, Annie Landsberg and Owen Milgram.

They volunteer to participate in a pharmaceutical trial that purports to permanently cure them of all mental-health problems. During the study, a series of drugs push them to explore various corners of their subconscious while exhuming traumas they have tried their best to bury. By signing up to star in Maniac, Stone and Hill not only get to depict that clinical journey, they also assume a diverse array of personas that Annie and Owen take on in their minds once the drugs take effect.

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Among all the things, Maniac has Stone as Legolas knocking off the world of the Lord of the Rings. On the other hand, it has Hill as the underling of the Austrian government. Both of them are given the memories of a married Island couple in the 1980s, who are involved in a Coen Brothers show, involving a stolen lemur. It sounds weird, yes, but Maniac has only scratched the surface of the synapse. It gives us Justin Theroux as a toupee, Sally Field in a triple role and Billy Magnussen as a douche. Emma Stone has delivered one of the most commanding performances in her life. Have you heard of this phrase that says, “You know how few things happen in life until you realize that they have to happen after they happened?”. This is how Maniac is! It is exactly one of those shows that everyone should watch. Maniac can be termed as a psychological circus, the world that I would love to use because of the characters it has. Patrick Somerville is the creator of the show who also worked on The Leftovers and the True Detective. Maniac has been directed with an unmistakable nerve while keeping thousands and thousands of things in the brain. Somerville is responsible for the series which came with the same name, in Norwegian.

The pitch for Maniac could very easily have been “Let’s make a series where nearly every episode is like the ‘International Assassin’ one from The Leftovers.”

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Maniac is more than exercising in the switcheroo scenario. It has a unique tone and form that all of us would love to watch. It considers all the psychological barriers of people by preventing the human beings from shedding all of their baggage. It has the factors which can prompt two people to bond given the interest of relationship and the surprises involved. Maniac is a binge-watchable series if you are someone who knows the mental health very well. The first episode starts with Owen, while the second episode is told from Annie’s perspective. Both of the episodes deal with what happened before they walked through the doors of the Pharmaceutical laboratory in order to engage in the drug trial. Owen is a newly employed person with schizophrenia and with a history of spending time in an asylum because of his suicidal tendencies. He can hear voices that aren’t there and can see things that are not there. He is one of the five siblings of a wealthy family who ostracizes Owen through the passive-aggressive mechanism. In one of the many visual moments of the show, the camera reveals to a pretentious painting of the Milgram family which is hung on the wall. The camera then pans to the right where you can see Owen, hanging by himself. When he sees Annie at Neberdine, his delusions say that she has been partnered with him in order to save the world.

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While Annie has a firm grip on the reality, she is untethered and screwed in her own way. However, because of her broken relationships, she is consumed by guilt. She wants to mend her ways with her mother and her sister Ellie. In order to get herself stable, she wants to get rid of the sadness that she is carrying. Initially, she is dismissive of Owen but later she connects with him when they disappear into the monitored dream states. She believes that both of them are meant to be a dynamic duo to make some changes in life. Every time Annie and Owen are shown to be under the influence, the issues and the people that they have encountered in their lives get to their heads in fantastical contexts while hiding the truths.

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As mentioned earlier, a seance or lemus caper is shown in relevance with them in various situations. Each episode in the show is unfolded at a pace of 45 minutes or less keeping the show going with the speed of an electric impulse. There are many things in the show that will shock you apparently as you rocket from one neuron to another.  Maniac doesn’t unfold in a consistent setting with regard to the time period. It is presented with regard to the present day scenes of New Tork either as an alternate version or as a cockeyed future which is why you love this film. Everything in this film run on computers, but all of them look advanced like WarGames.

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