Black Mirror: Rachel Jack and Ashley Too
Directed by Anne Sewitsky
Actors: Miley Cyrus, Angourie Rice, Madison Davenport
It's the time of year when technology makes you nervous and shocked because Netflix is back Black mirror Season 5.
The series is known for its gripping acts that offer viewers a troubling reality check with a dystopian future. This time, Black mirror is based on well-known names such as Marvel superhero Anthony Mackie and American pop star Miley Cyrus.
The third episode –Rachel, Jack and Ashley too– traverses the journey of a pop star and teenage sensation with a lucrative wig struggling between her stage and real life personalities. Wait, that reminds you of Miley Cyrus at Disney Hanna Montana?
Maybe not exactly, but it's easy to imagine Rachel, Jack and Ashley too than Hanna Montana 10 years later with more AI-capable shades.
In the 67-minute episode, we meet a pop star named Ashley O (Cyrus), whose songs, like her neon purple wig, are downright bright and positive. In real life, however, she longs for freedom. Her aunt and manager Catherine is a fundraiser that Ashley teaches to fans about her songs, lyrics, music and her picture of rainbows and hearts. She even drugs Ashley, causing her to go into a coma.
The episode also follows the storyline of Ashley's teenage fan Rachel (Angourie Rice) and her sister Jack (Madison Davenport). While Jack takes a carefree stance, her sister Rachel struggles to find friends in a new neighborhood as a loner.
The two actions collide when Ashley introduces her AI robot named Ashley Too and Rachel gets it as a birthday present. Later, when Ashley Too sees Ashley O in a coma in a news report, it malfunctions. Jack (who claims to be technologically illiterate) removes part of the software from her and the robot comes alive and synchronizes his brain with that of the real singer. It is said to be a digital copy of Ashley O, who previously had a limiter in the brain.
As the creators strive to reconcile the two actions, they remain two separate stories and the characters have no time to develop. For example, Rachel, who is addicted to Ashley's pimped-up AI version, is motivated to take part in a talent show, but fails. What happens next? Well nothing.
Miley continues to play the trapped pop star trying to free himself without bringing depth. As if the smile fades when the camera goes out and looks out of the car window on the way home. Rachel, Jack and Ashley too gives you every cliché scene from a film about fame against freedom and finance against passion. All in all, it's an ordinary pop star story combined with another ordinary teen story.
To the end you try to get to the moment when you say "what just happened", but you only have to be content with Rachel and Jack turning into spy children while trying to Ashley, the singer, Save the robot with Ashley Too.
It's not the acting that feels out of place, the three actors have done their job well, it's the plot that is so un-Black Mirror-ish. The episode tries to focus on replacing artists with AI technicians, sound mixers, and people's addiction to their devices, but this extremely cute post feels more like a Disney film in which you don't mind if a good fairy shows up in the background. Throughout the run, the episode is too youthful to be taken seriously.
Read: Black Mirror Smithereen's Review: Look up from your cell phones and mourn the taxi drivers
Read: Black Mirror Striking Vipers Review: One of the Best Episodes on Alternate Reality
(Still images are from Black Mirror Season 5, Episode 3)
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