Soderbergh's movie kicks off with a hyper-realistic tone, thanks in part to the look of his iPhone photography, as well as the gripping lead performance from Claire Foy. Foy's Sawyer Valentini is a tough-as-nails bank analyst, but her aptitude at a new job is just the excuse her gross boss needs to make an inappropriate pass (though one just subtle enough for plausible deniability.)
Sawyer clearly has some "issues," brushing off comments from her FaceTiming mom (Amy Irving) about why she's moved to Pennsylvania. When she hooks up with a Tinder date, she brings him back to her apartment, only to melt down and lock herself in the bathroom. "You initiated!" the freaked-out dude exclaims, clearly terrified of accusations of misconduct.
The eruptions convince Sawyer to goe in for a psychological consultation. There she mentions an ex-stalker back in Boston and, even though she knows it's crazy, confesses that she "sees" him everywhere. The clock-punching counselor asks some leading questions, receives a vague affirmative on "suicidal ideation," gets Sawyer to sign some papers that she thinks are merely for further visits and, voila: Sawyer is now locked up in a "wrong [wo]man"-style Hitchcockian hell.
Sawyer meets Nate (Jay Pharoah), another inmate cut off from the world and under "observation," who explains that the private, for-profit facility has a pattern. They maintain empty beds just for wide-eyed, stressed-out people with good insurance policies. They trick them into saying the wrong thing, suck the insurance companies dry for as long as they can, then throw the patients back to the world.
Since this is all played extremely straight and terrifyingly it leads to the question: Does this sort of thing actually happen?