The creators of the Westworld series, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, are taking audiences to another dimension with the new Prime Video production The Peripheral. Based on the book by popular science fiction author William Gibson, the story is a leap into time-travelling, virtual gaming and dystopian worlds.
Protagonist Flynne Fisher (Chloë Grace Moretz) lives in a rural American town in the near future. She works in a 3D printing shop by day but takes on extra work as a gamer to make the money needed for her mother’s pharmaceuticals. When Flynne’s brother Burton (Jack Reynor) asks her to take on his shift as a beta-tester for what she believes is a virtual reality video game, she ends up having a mind-blowing experience. She goes through a series of sticky situations and intense emotions that leave her shaken, especially as she begins to realise that the dimension she is accessing is real, and is in fact a 22nd-century London full of threats.
The series sets up a whole new reality with its own set of rules and dangers, which certainly carries potential for exciting turns. However, since the distinction between what is deemed good and bad in this parallel world is never totally clear, it is not easy to feel invested in the story. Besides, the future feels emotionally flat as it’s populated with power-thirsty baddies and little else, while at the same time the villains’ purposes aren’t drawn out in enough detail to awaken the sense of discomfort that a dystopian tale should. Nevertheless, the shifts in dimension are undeniably cool from an aesthetic perspective and the cast hold their roles efficiently, even if their characters’ motives are sometimes obscure.
While it’s appealing at surface level, The Peripheral overdoes the surreal features and violence while underworking the narrative and the links between the different elements it presents, which ultimately leaves one with a sense of dissatisfaction.
The Peripheral is released on Amazon Prime Video on 21st October 2022.
Watch the trailer for The Peripheral here: