In dystopian works such as this, there's a fine line between narrative economy and a scarcity of ideas, and "Metalhead" treads that line for its entire duration. Each season of "Black Mirror" calls for its own action-oriented episode, true, but "Metalhead" has so much action and so little else that all I could really admire was the chrome visual palette as David Slade's apparent homage to "Tetsuo: The Iron Man."
Sometimes the less you know, the better. So far, this is the stand-out episode of this season! Not just because it was shot in black and white, with great cinematography and a creepy tech device as the antagonist... but mostly because of Maxine Peake's restless struggle for survival and the sheer boldness of keeping the mystery mostly intact until the end. (Wo)Man vs Machina: the series' premise at its purest.
Definitely one of the best episodes of Black Mirror (all seasons considered). David Slade (Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night) directs a bleak, brutal, relentless, visceral dystopian tale reminiscent of Christian Duguay's Screamers (1995) and Richard Stanley's Hardware (1990) and a dash of Boston Dynamics aka Google's killer robots. Thankfully, Slade avoids didactic explanations: viewers must fill in the blanks.
Excellent episode with beautiful and stark photography and a perfect soundtrack by Penderecki. Slade directs the hell out of these 40 minutes and he stages everything in a great way. Peake is also good in the lead and conveys so much with a minimal amount of dialogue. The only downside is that I would have liked to see more. But hey! Sometimes less is more.
This is the best directed episode of this season of Black Mirror, but not the most 'Black Mirror' episode of Black Mirror this season. And in a season where Black Mirror has begun to feel a bit stale, this was a breath of fresh air.
Black Mirror as a concept doesn't exist to provide you with an explanation, only a window into and reflection of your humanity in a technologically dominated future. Those essentials are captured here, with Maxine Peake's average-middle-aged woman (NOT a heroic, Sarah Connor-type) in a future she's been forced to adapt to. The most cinematic of the entire show, with a massive Penderecki score to keep the tension up.