2 out of 5
Created by: John Requa and Glenn Ficarra
covers season 1
I was a pre-teen, and one of my first R-rated movies was Die Hard 2. While I totally thought the movie was frikkin’ awesome, and it kicked off an ongoing love for Bruce Willis, I remember a particular line standing out, snarked by Bruce to the dumb airport cop, standing in the way of his terrorist-foiling: “Let me ask you something: what sets off a metal detector first? The lead in your ass or the shit in your brains?” Willis pulls this off with McClane aplomb, and Dennis Franz – playing the cop – gets an appropriate smacked-down look on his face while unsubtle director Renny Harlin does his unsubtle shtick, but even at my tender age, I questioned this quote. Because, like, what?
Age has not improved its reception. It’s a dumb line; it’s a line made to sound like a good snipe, but it makes absolutely no sense.
That’s a good summary of Rabbit Hole, a “conspiracy” thriller which positions John Weir (Keifer Sutherland) as a dude at the center of a swirling mass of double-crosses and company takeovers and political squabbles, pitted against a dude named Crowley who’s obviously going to take over the world and has to either recruit or kill Weir to do it – whatever makes the most sense for that particular twisty-turny spot in the story. RH cashes in our Sutherland’s credit as the 24 guy, well equipped to run around frantically while also looking like he knows what he’s doing, and be kinda sorta like a Bruce Willis character who’s maybe an everyman who’s also always a step ahead.
But just like that ‘fake it ’til you make it’ line, RH is shot and scored with the bravado of a quality thriller, while being stuffed to the gills with no-sense nonsense and “twists” that either require completely editing scenes so you don’t get key information – perhaps the laziest way to do twists – or just commit grievous inconsistencies with its characters, who are master manipulators who, like, use straight alphabet cyphers for deep state communiques.
It’s not not fun at points, thanks to Sutherland, and tagalong Meta Golding doing a good job of being something of an audience proxy – the innocent mixed up in all the calamity – with some quirky stunt casting for Crowley and scenery chewing by Charles Dances, who’s given a huge chunk of “lead in your ass”-style snark to make sound better with his delivery. And for a brief while, the show actually seems to be having fun being stupid, with a repeated gag of Weir hiding stuff inside walls in safe houses, the very purposefully forcing the audience to play catch up as one scene directly contradicts the previous one. But this dissipates quickly, when Crowley’s master plot is revealed and the show pretends like it’s a legit thriller with lazily “timely” social “commentary,” and stakes that never take hold because they’ll surely just be wiped out with the next twist.