This interesting and creative film came out of Amazon’s direct-to-Amazon Amazon Studios, although it does seem to have had at least a minimal box-office release.
Somehow, I suspect they had the French Nouvelle Vague movies of the 60s in mind when they made this, with its rich, smoky black and white cinematography. It has a very definite tres cool New Wave coolness to it (bordering on the chilly), with a calm, dispassionate camera and a cool black and white “palette.” – and somehow they achieve this despite the fact that large parts of its dreamy black and white are mediated through its futuristic fictional VR devices, in digital animation which has somehow been seamlessly inserted into the film without disturbing its very French look.
It’s a daring move: we live in an age where people have this strange idea that they aren’t getting their money’s worth unless everything is in color, even to the point of colorizing films like Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.
But what endears it to me even more is the use of color in some of the VR sequences (but only in those generated by its hapless protagonist, David). Not, I should point out, the garish bursts of color found in Sin City, but glowing, warm, earthy, flesh-tone colors, that seem to bloom out of the scene almost unnoticed at first and then light up the screen.
Benjamin Dickinson co-writes, directs and stars, as a corporate drone at a public relations firm, who has been given the job of promoting a new VR device, but is too busy destroying himself with drugs, booze, and his obsession with his best friend’s new teen-aged girlfriend to bother doing his job. And then it all gets so much worse when he realizes how he can use the new device to carry on a “virtual” affair with the girl…
There’s a surprisingly thoughtful message behind it all, about the unreality of modern society and our failures to connect with each other, with a surprisingly happy resolution when David loses everything.
Until, that is, the ironic final, hellish twist, where he gets it all back.