The Stranger on Quibi Movie Recommendation

Quibi The Stranger
Reader Rating0 Votes

Look, we like “different” around here. We watch a lot of movies. And so, anytime we get a chance to watch a movie that breaks the mold, does something new or different, or just blows it up, I’m intrigued. Well, today, I’ve got the The Stranger on Quibi movie recommendation. Have you heard of Quibi? Well, now it’s defunct, and will soon be coming back in a free format (think Peacock maybe?). It was sort of the Twitter of movie streaming channels. The Twitter of movies? Yeah, they were all just a few minutes long, it’s really not that hard of an analogy to comprehend.

So today I’m bringing you the film The Stranger. 13 episodes. Averaging 8 minutes long. It’s basically an old-fashioned newspaper serial in movie format. Every single episode ends in a cliffhanger of some sort or other. I kid you not. You know, it’s just a thriller on steroids in order to keep you doing the work to flip to the next serial. And I have to admit something to you. The format of, clicking, watching nine minutes, and then clicking out again, finding the next one, clicking into it, hitting play…? Extraordinarily annoying. So, I might have? Possibly? Found all the files, and merged them into one giant 100-minute long version of the film. Maybe. I might have done that. Depends on who’s asking. And no… no, you cannot have that file I created. That would be stealing. And that is bad. But I do believe that Quibi is coming back online for a reprized push that will probably be ad based – and I’m expecting they’ll field The Stranger as a number 1 draw to the service. Heck, an ad every 9 minutes??? Gah. What a revenue boost that will be. Pardon me while I swan dive off a high rise, that will be terrible.

The complicated bit about this particular recommendation is that it’s going to be hard to find and watch. Most of you will do okay with putting it on your list and checking back occasionally for The Stranger to arrive on Quibi once again… but this time for free. Others of you might have a harder time with that. And, to you, I tell you – it’s out there to be found. You just have to look. Like for example here is the entire first episode to give it a shot:

And here’s a link to episode two. There are more episodes to be found – you just have to think of it more like a game, an Easter Egg Hunt, than a movie.

Quick Overview of The Stranger

Clare, (Maika Monroe – It Follows, and The 5th Wave) a new rideshare driver in LA, has come to the city of bright lights to make her dreams come true. Or maybe to flee something from her past, we aren’t 100% sure. And when Clare picks up a new ride up in the Hacienda Heights area of LA, things quickly go sideways for Clare. (I did already mention that the film has 9 minutes to get to its first surprise cliffhanger, right? Right.) So, yeah, quickly. Her new fare is Carl (played by Dane DeHaan who I adored in the upside down super hero flick Chronicle. He was also in Valerian, if that was your jam, Tulip Fever, oh oh oh, and he was also in the mental movie A Cure For Wellness) who happens to know way too much about Clare. Oh, and by the way, he might have also killed the people that lived in the house he just came from.

The movie follows a 24 setup idea where each of the 13 episodes chronicles new sequential hours through the night as Clare runs for her life. She initially figures out how to get away from Carl by crashing her car. And she is lucky enough to meet up with JJ (Avan Jogia, I believe he was in Zombieland Double Tap? but can’t be bothered to look it up right now), a tech savvy gas station attendant who is interested in her, and her level of crazy, for some – completely unknown to me – reason.

The cleverness of The Stranger is deftly written into the past of Clare’s life. We get a snippet here. And a scrap there. Why? Because the film is to busy writing its cliffs, and its hangers, to be bothered with character development. Which, I would actually argue, works in its favor. This story is so banal, and so unbelievable, that if it took the time to explain the characters, and explain what is happening, we’d all write this one off as insipid. BUT, because the format doesn’t give itself the time to become the bland thriller of the month, it carries the idea further and is more interesting.

The Internal Chaos of The Stranger

Let me point something out to you that you may not have noticed as I was telling you about the setup of the movie. Clare is running for her life. Who is chasing her? Carl. Sit with that for a moment. Carl is chasing Clare. But wait, this might help you a little bit… DeHaan’s character is actually titled as Carl E. Clare is being chased by an anagram of herself. And the tension of the entire 100 minute movie is whether, or not, Clare is insane. You see, she fled her Kansas upbringing because of a teacher that may or may not have raped her. Clare apparently accused her teacher of the crime and then recanted. And now that she is in Los Angeles, she’s at it again. Worse, JJ does not see her assailant, ever (well, until it’s too late that is). Which means, ClarE could just be slowing unwinding in front of our eyes. Did Clare kill a police officer? He dies. But maybe it was Carl. And maybe it was Clare. Are the two the same person? Or is there really someone out there trying to get her for some unknown crime?

And the tension works pretty well throughout the course of the film. Definitely wouldn’t work as a standard film format, that is for sure. But in the 13 spliced segments, it works really well. At times Carl is basically a god. He appears here, out of nowhere, and is ready for Clare with brilliant alacrity. And other times he seems to sense her next move and out maneuvers her. Now, this would work if he is just a MPD of herself. Right? But if he’s real? And not just an anagram? So yeah, the construct breaks down in the last episode or two. Though, not before the film does its very best attempt to give us a good explanation of how Carl E stayed one step ahead of Clare.

Overall Thoughts on The Stranger

The Stranger by Camus is a brilliant work of fiction. It tells the story of a man who kills an Arab on the beach… but it is shrouded in mystery, and a dreamlike state of almost sleepwalking. Who knows what is real and what is not. Camus’ work basically is a piece on the chaos of absurdism… and the difficulties of this sort of philosophical idealism. Similarly, Quibi’s The Stranger falls apart in your hands if you look too closely at it. It lacks all of its predecessor’s philosophical underpinnings. But like Camus’ similarly titled philosophical treatise, Quibi’s The Stranger struggles with something deeper about the believability of women, and our doubt for them in general. There have been a number of these films lately. Unbelievable is just one film that dives into the un-believability of a witness in a rape case and our tendency to write off survivors of trauma. Or worse, we tear them down, and convince the world that they are making their allegations up wholesale (because, yeah, that is generally such a fun time.)

Though a bit exploitative, Quibi’s The Stranger attempts to talk about our inability to believe women, and it shows how they are forced to walk this road alone. Which, in and of itself, is an interesting premise. And yet, it is all for the various setups and pitfalls. It is 100% just a premise upon which the narrative arc falls. And it is 100% a framework for telling a thriller. And yet, there is enough truth to the psychological underpinnings here to be fascinating. Is she insane? Or is she telling the truth? It seems to be the question of the day. Regardless, I enjoyed the ride, even if I had to kick my suspension of disbelief into a whole new gear. I found it worth while, even if the ending episode or two weren’t capable of explaining anything to us, really. And yet, I’m actually okay with the entire movie being a fever dream. That’s fine with me! hahaha.

I don’t know, did you guys watch it? What did you think of it?

Edited by: CY