Movie and television thrillers are labyrinthine and claustrophobic. They lead their protagonist(s) and the viewer through a byzantine series of twists and turns, as new and unnerving layers of truth about an inescapable (or seemingly inescapable) environment are discovered. I like thrillers, despite their conjuring of feelings of airless oppressiveness, and their revelations that we do not really know where, and possibly who, we are. Pervy? Don’t think so. Thrillers reward us with their startling aesthetics, their visual signatures of the labyrinth that so dazzlingly speak to us about our own trepidations about hidden dangers.
Historically, thrillers have softened the blow of their depictions of helplessness and confusion by etching clear distinctions between the good, vulnerable, but nevertheless conquering heroes with whom we identify and the powerful, evil villains onto whom we can project our anxieties. More recent thrillers, however, have become more challenging, demanding that we recognize that the world is not that easy to read. Homecoming (2018), an Amazon Studios streamed series created by Micah Bloomberg and Eli Horowitz, is such an evolved thriller, or at least it is in its auspicious first season. As it peels away the layers of appearances toward its big reveal, it makes us feel that too often good is sleepwalking and evil is not easy to comprehend, let alone battle.
As far as I know, there will be two seasons of Homecoming, so it is still possible that this wonderfully innovative beginning will collapse into a formulaic conclusion in the next season, marooning us in the older thriller world of simplistic right and wrong. (I hope not.) But the series thus far is so tantalizing that a discussion of the way it touches on current anxieties and blind spots in contemporary America is not premature. Continue reading on EYE ON MEDIA.