Netflix and Spill: iBoy

You can instantly tell that any product or show that prefixes ‘I’ will be a technnological adpatation (and one that is usually self- centred).

Tom (Rory Kinnear) is your typical disinterested yet bright English schoolkid with an interest in Lucy (Maisie Williams).

Both find themselves at the mercy of a lower middle class gang, resulting in Tom being shot in the head and Lucy being left traumatised. Tom awakens to the realisation that shrapnel from his mobile phone has lodged itself in his brain.

Suddenly finding himself wired and in synch with every electronic device in the city, he embarks on a vigilante, voodoo doll escapade to seek revenge on the gang. Think Limitless meets Gotham meets Black Mirror. 

Initially, it seems that every teen’s dream is to read the minds of their peers and know what they are really thinking.Pacing begins very quickly and from the onset the ball starts rolling, but in the second half slows down.  We are challenged to think about the ethical implications of Tom’s actions and whether if given his abilities we would choose to wreak havoc on the people who wronged us. Once Nan (Miranda Richardson, perhaps too young for the role) steps in, Tom can’t just become the night owl seeking justice.

Thematically, iBoy has potential to explore the influence of crime in small towns and how youth become entangled in its appeal as a fast way to the top. It also hits the nail on the head-literally-about the pervasiveness of our phones and the relative ease at which we can remotely commit crimes without even the touch of a button.

Like every piece of technology, it is not always as promising as it seems.

Tom as a character just falls flat. He is surly and not very sociable, and so it is hard to empathise with him. Maisie Williams still has that stubborn Arya Stark gloss and although she is charming at times, she just isn’t that compelling as a love interest.

It is almost reminiscent of Astro Boy and even Inspector Gadget, and so perhaps self-referential humour could polish this piece. Grittiness and realism during the whole 90 minutes loses its edge.

An interesting enough premise, with glitches.


A Netflix Original Movie.