It’s always exciting to see the latest work from a beloved director, or to watch a great actor return to a classic role. But one of the most underrated pleasures of going to the movies is discovery; watching an actor you’d never heard of before surprise you with their incredible range or charisma, or realizing, in real time, that you’re witnessing the work of a major new artist. It really doesn’t get much better than that.
10 Cloverfield Lane, the not-so-secret Cloverfield sequel that ended up being a welcome surprise at the theater earlier this year, seems to have put director Dan Trachtenberg on the map. He recently directed one of the episodes of Black Mirror’s third season, “Playtest,” about a man who volunteers to test a horror video game that reads your mind in order to figure out how best to scare you. Now, he’s in talks to helm Legendary’s long-in-development movie about the one and only Harry Houdini.
The brilliance of Black Mirror is how it feels relatable to our present, yet just far enough into the future. Creator Charlie Brooker described that distance best when he said the dark satire is about “the way we might be living in 10 minutes’ time if we’re clumsy.” There’s an emphasis is on the “we” in Black Mirror, a show that isn’t about the evils of technology, but the ways it can fuel the vile and detestable parts of human behavior to harrowing degrees.