Mosaic, A Murder Mystery

Steven Soderbergh Redfines The TV Experience

BY: Zak Wojnar

Mosaic isn’t a television series. Not yet. For now, it’s being called “a new storytelling experience” from the mind of Steven Soderbergh, a director who thrives on pushing the boundaries of visual art.

But what is it? Right now, Mosaic is a free app which can be downloaded on your smart phone. From there, the story plays out like a television series, but with a twist. The story is a winding, twisted, complex maze of a mystery, involving the murder of Sharon Stone‘s character, Olivia Lake, and the numerous suspects and investigators involved in the crime.

At specific junctures in the show, the viewer must use the app to decide which corner of the story they will follow next. The entire series runs for around seven hours, but the viewer isn’t supposed to see every second of content Mosaic has to offer, at least not their first time through. It’s up the viewer to decide which facets of the film and which characters are most important to them, and follow them to their conclusion, before going back and choosing new threads to unravel.

It sounds terribly complicated, but the app (available now!) is easy to navigate and the story, while impossibly dense and full of twists and turns, is a compelling experience. Plus iit’s unique in its style, which seems designed for consumption on tiny smartphone screens. It doesn’t seem cheap, however, and its minimalist visuals are buoyed by performances from stars like Sharon Stone, Garret Hedlund, Beau Bridges, and Paul Reubens aka Pee Wee Herman.

For viewers uninterested in the “choose your perspective” antics of the app, Mosaic will also be released as a more traditional television experience later on, in the form of a six-part HBO miniseries.

Mosaic, the app, is available now on smartphones, and is set to premiere, in television form, on HBO on January 22.