The main protagonist in Devs is played by the brilliant Sonoya Mizuno, who previously collaborated with Garland on Ex Machina and Annihilation. Mizuno portrays Lily Chan, a software developer at massive tech corporation Amaya, implied to be a sort of Google and Apple rolled into one. Her boss and founder of the company, Forest, is done by Nick Offerman in a decidedly serious role that’s not typical of him (he’s mostly known as a comedian, chiefly in Parks and Recreation). His name is very apropos, seeing as most of the Amaya compound is surrounded by Californian forest. Being a tech giant, Amaya is naturally located outside San Francisco.
While working at Amaya seems like a dream job for Lily and her boyfriend (played by Karl Glusman), things rapidly go mysterious when the latter literally disappears in a secluded and highly classified portion of the company’s campus. Lily starts to ask questions, which brings her into conflict with the company’s security chief (a very menacing Zach Grenier) and Forest’s trusted second, Katie, played by the ever-excellent Alison Pill.
While the cast is superb and Garland’s story compelling, what really works is just how believable and realistic Devs feels. Though set nominally in the unspecified future (at least from the perspective of someone watching in 2020), the technology seems familiar, as do the locations and the concept of a technology company so powerful, it can practically shape reality.
But Devs toys with these concepts to the merry tune of nothing being what it seems and everything having a question mark affixed to it. Sonoya Mizuno powers the show by providing an incredible ambassador for the audience. She’s just as lost in the bizarre story as viewers are, the result being that you never feel out of touch even as Devs questions the very nature of the universe.