REVIEW: ‘Rabbit Hole’ Goes Beyond Expectation

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Rabbit Hole - But Why Tho

We all know that Kiefer Sutherland knows how to do a spy thriller, so Rabbit Hole was a must-watch for me at SXSW Film & TV Festival this year. But don’t worry, I promise that showrunners Glenn Ficarra and John Requa have crafted an experience you haven’t seen before in the genre, and that’s why it works.

A Paramount+ Original, Rabbit Hole follows John Weir (Sutherland), a master of deception in the world of corporate espionage when he is framed for murder by powerful forces who have the ability to influence and control populations. John is a leading character that is easy to root for because of how flawed he is. I mean, the line between spy and con man really just depends on who is paying for the job to be completed, and as a private espionage operative, John toes that line. The opening of the series thrusts audiences into John’s world and his ability to execute a job. Episode 1 offers a great look into how he outsmarts targets and how he succeeds, but each episode reveals a new stake and how it begins is worlds apart from where we end up. John’s goal switches to saving democracy and people when he’s framed for a murder he didn’t commit and its implications sens him and those chasing him, down, well, a rabbit hole.

The standouts of the series in terms of characters are really Jo (Enid Graham) and Hailey (Meta Golding). While women in spy-thrillers often end up being second to the lead, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa created dynamic female characters that always strengthen their scenes and place in the story. Not only that, but each character is distinct from the other and showcases different qualities of strength. Jo is determined and steadfast with a strong moral compass. Hailey is a survivor doing what she needs to in order to stay alive in it all. And the way they each pull at the story leads to some of the most interesting revelations. That said, Charles Dance’s Ben is shocking. He’s manipulative and terrifying, and the power he wields across the series is done with gravitas. And in the end, how John interacts with every single one of them makes the story one worth falling into.

While everyone above are strong characters on their own, the dynamic ways that they each interact with each other keeps the mystery building and the twists evolving. This is due to Sutherland’s amazing chemistry with every member of the cast as John. Whether it’s in action sequences, moments of anger, or romantic plot points, Sutherland is able to ensure that every relationship and interaction works perfectly. Beyond that though, Sutherland is also able to show why he’s still a thrilling lead years after his hit 24, and I just want to see more of him in the genre.

Rabbit Hole is a character-driven thriller, but its larger themes of data usage and surveillance are even more salient when looked at from the perspective of our increasingly connected world. And while “connected world” is often used positively, the truth is that the connections and what you sacrifice for them take a new life when explored in all of the negative ways they can be exploited. The reality of Rabbit Hole is that by giving away your data, you are giving away your life and making it easier for it to be taken advantage of. By blending this look at surveillance with solid action and stellar pacing are sure to keep audiences engaged not just in the story at hand but in the larger conversation about data as well.

Rabbit Hole works because every twist serves a purpose, keeping the audience on even ground and constantly unsure of course, but ultimately intentional in every way. Most shockingly, though, while Rabbit Hole is a spy thriller, it thrives by changing its skin nearly episode and ultimately thrives on its action-surveillance-thriller core. Where the story begins in episode one isn’t where we are in episode four and that’s its strength, constantly building itself up into something new on foundations laid before.

Rabbit Hole Episodes 1 – 4 premiered at the SXSW Film & TV Festival and begins streaming on Paramount+ March 26, 2023.

Rabbit Hole
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10


Rabbit Hole works because every twist serves a purpose, keeping the audience on even ground and constantly unsure of course, but ultimately every single one serves a purpose.

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