Review: Highly binge-worthy 'Clickbait' has momentum to spare
In Netflix mini-series, a catchy premise develops into an enthralling mystery.
“Clickbait” is more than it appears to be.
What it appears to be is a show with a gimmick. A posting on the internet shows a bloodied man (Adrian Grenier) reluctantly holding up signs. The first says he abuses women. The second says he’s killed a woman. According to the site, when it gets 5 million hits, the man will be executed.
It doesn’t take long, obviously, for the site to get 5 million hits. This could have been the most mini mini-series ever.
Happily it isn’t. Instead it comes at the story of how a seemingly happily married father of two, Nick Brewer, ended up holding those signs from a variety of angles. The most consistent perspectives come from Nick’s hothead sister, Pia (Zoe Kazan), and his wife, Sophie (Betty Gabriel).
But the writers also include the eyes of a detective (Phoenix Raei), a reporter (Abraham Lim), Nick’s teen sons and others. And what unfolds — and keeps unfolding until the end — is a tale filled with betrayals, lies, misconceptions, delusions and revenge.
Obviously “Clickbait” has things to say about internet technology, misinformation and the alarming, potentially dangerous speed of modern media. But mostly it’s just an elaborate whodunit, complete with wrong turns, false fall guys and subtle insinuations. It stumbles and stretches here and there, but it keeps moving, moving, moving. This is a show absolutely made for bingeing.
In the end “Clickbait” is about alienation and loneliness in a tech-mad world. It holds together as myriad characters come and go thanks to strong turns by Kazan as a sister driven to find out the truth about her brother, and Gabriel, as a wife who finds her reality in tatters. They are the anchors who keep this dervish series grounded. “Clickbait” is clickbait indeed.
Tom Long is a longtime contributor to The Detroit News.
Rated TV-MA: Violence, language