Maniac is yet another Netflix series that plays like a long—but really good—movie.
Jonah Hill and Emma Stone reteam (after Superbad) as two mentally exhausted individuals who volunteer for pharmaceutical experiments that involve a lot more than simply taking pills.
The premise—which allows for their characters to essentially share dreams—places them inside different fantasy scenarios involving different people. Lemurs, Long Island, shootouts, odd dancing, seances, hawks and more play into those scenarios, all directed engagingly by Cary Joji Fukunaga. The different dreams have different styles—but Fukunaga keeps it all under control.
Stone is the true shining star here, especially in a sequence that places her in a Lord of the Rings-type setting, one that her character’s true self can’t really stand. Hill plays his Owen as morose for much of the running time, which is necessary given Owen’s state, but he does get a decent amount of opportunities to go crazy when his character morphs into different people.
Justin Theroux is fantastic as a pathetic doctor, as is Sally Field as his famous mother. In fact, Field has some of the series’ best moments—no surprise, given that she is the legendary Sally Field.
If you are looking to binge, Maniac is a fine choice.
Maniac is currently streaming on Netflix.