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Mr Robot is an American TV series created by Sam Esmail. Oneimportant topic the show deals with is social criticism and consumerism. The show has quite a lot of parallels to the 1999 movie Fight Club. But in how far has Esmail brought up the content of the classic movie and could you possibly say that Mr Robot is just a newer version of Fight Club?

Elliot Alderson is a 28-year-old hacker who is suffering from social phobia. He is working for a cyber security company which is called Allsafe. His inability to get along with everyday life situations like going to a birthday party or meeting friends from work leads to social isolation and loneliness he tries to fight with drugs like morphine. Angela, a friend from his childhood, his psychiatrist Krista and Shayla, his drug dealer are some of the few people who care about Elliot and are making an effort to find out what is bothering him. Elliot analyses other people and the problems of our modern society: the economic slavery- consumerism – the unequal distribution of money and the biggest conglomeration which supports all of these: e-corp which Elliot calls evil-corp. The company which is responsible for the death of Elliot’s father and Angela’s mother. Elliot only sees suffering and cruelty in the present society and regularly he is reporting his depressing but realistic views on life to the audience. Then he meets HIM: Mr Robot. A man who seems to be unspectacular at first sight. He introduces Elliot to the underground hacker group ‘Mr Robot’ which is working on accomplishing what Elliot always yearned for: reaching an economical ‘ground zero’ (by evoking the collapse of all credit institutions and banks) which would be the beginning of a digital revolution.

Already at the beginning of the show something of Elliot’s thoughts- but above above all- something about the conversations between him and Mr Robot – seems familiar. Something that many people know from Fincher’s famous 90’s thriller : The social criticism, the economic enslaved consumers, the desire of independence from the system and the glimmer of hope, this one person who promises the protagonist everything. Tyler Durden alias Mr Robot. In Fight Club the underground fights symbolise the feeling of self-determination and freedom. The fight, the pain, the adrenalin, all of this is an expression of life in its purest form, a big contrast to the monotonous everyday life which already killed the majority of humanity. ‘This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.’. What are we living for? What are we? ‘Consumers.’, how the nameless protagonist of Fight Club figured out correctly. Elliot’s weapon is his ability to hack. And no system is safe, especially not our political one, the one which is imprisoning us and authorizes corrupt, rich people to lead us.

Fight Club inspired Sam Esmail and you can see that. Anyway, I would never reduce it to “Fight Club 2.0”. On the one hand we see a new version of the old social criticism but there are also lots of new aspects. The fact alone that we are dealing with a series offers the directors way more opportunities, e.g concerning the development of the individual characters. The audience gets to know Elliot’s social fears, his split personality and his drug problem on a different level but – what is more important – bit by bit we learn more about Elliot’s past which enables us to comprehend better why he became the way he is. And not only Elliot’s story but also the one of his sister Darlene, Tyrell and Angela can be told more detailed than it would ever be possible in a 120-minute feature film.

The main idea of reaching a financial revolution and a redistribution of values is the same but Mr Robot offers more. The second season of the series starts at the point where Fight Club ended: at “ground zero”,after the collapse of the financial institutions, at the beginning of a new world order. How is society going to get along with the situation? What is going to change? What will the new world look like? I just can say that I am more than eager to get an answer to all these and many other questions. But until then: Bonsoir.

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