Amazon Studios has fourteen thousand four hundred plus projects currently in the works or recently completed according to their website. This movie is currently one of the few but soon to be just another of the many new titles that look very innovative. Putting that aside Benjamin Dickinson co-wrote Directed, and stars in this mess of a story that is just full of really interesting tech possibilities. A mess though it is I would not waste your time just talking about a movie that was empty and hollow, without any qualities that might catch your imagination. So in the case of this movie’s over all feel and look I was really impressed with this world of next week that we are taken into. I found myself coveting all of the really neat new tech.
I have made more posts on Twitter than Selena Gomez. I am not saying that out of pride, but to point out that some things can really make you question your life choices. Have you spent enough time building relationships? Are you a success in your eyes or the eyes of the person who matters to you? Why does someone else’s opinion matter more to you than your own? You know the basics of every day as a normal person who feels that they are completely different from all the others just like we all do too. That is the main meat of the story about a man named David who works for an advertising agency (like Darren from Bewitched or any of the Mad Men) that just happens to be a few steps further into the future than we are right now. A company who already has clients like Phalinex a medical vaporizer that pilots can use to relieve anxiety. This world already has some form of Google Glasses, and this new player Augmenta has a pair of glasses that could prove to be the next big thing. David is given a pair of these new glasses after winning the account for his firm which he then begins to test out.
These glasses give the wearer access to the tools of their phone and computers literally in the palm of their hands. You first put the glasses on and then link them to your devices and activate them with a motion of your hands. Your thumb and index fingers are highlighted as you move them and use them to scroll or swipe, or even drag and drop. Start by cupping one hand face up then you reach into that palm with the two fingers of your other hand, and pull out an imaginary block or disc from there toward your opposite hands main resting position. The device then once activated will pair with your other devices and begin by adding a layer between you and the world around you that is full of data. Like the images you see of the Google Glasses, if you look at a person you might see their name floating above them, or some information about the last time you met them. The glasses will scan your history then in no time be a helpful assistant guiding and giving you advice on the best topics to help in conversations.
Right about here is just when David happens to run into his best friend Wim’s girlfriend Sophie played by Alexia Rasmussen on the street delivering clothes. Using the glasses David has an extra sense of confidence that he would not have had before. Now as he walks with Sophie he is prompted to ask about the African prints she has been experimenting with because the glasses have pulled that data from her social media for him. We see that the glasses are scanning Sophie’s image as the two walk and talk, and by the time they are ready to say goodbye David has promised to get Sophie a job at his firm knowing that she is very skilled with design and clothes.
From that point the main story is off and running. David begins to very quickly spiral as he is becoming addicted to the world that he has control over and can manipulate to suit his needs, which never says no to his desires. Meanwhile David’s extremely sheltered Yoga instructor girlfriend who is played by Nora Zehetner, begins to feel ignored and as her own life starts to fall apart she gets no support from David at all. There is a great cast of players and even Reggie Watts who is over the top but not really if you are familiar with any of his work. H. Jon Benjamin who most folks know as the voice of Bob Belcher from Bob’s Burgers pops up as well.
That is enough of the story though I want to talk about the world and the tech. From the very start of this movie you can tell the tech is a bit better than ours now. Every screen is transparent just like Extant the Halle Berry series that took too long to be canceled. Not nearly Tomorrowland, but definitely the world of tomorrow. Even the prescription drugs of this time are unique, coming in shapes you would expect to see in your cereal box. Everything of this world is presented in black and white the only colour is in the digital world, highlighting the desires that David is feeling for the avatar that he has created. I really liked the almost tactile nature of the controls that the wearer of the glasses has at hand. The layer of information that comes up in front of the user, and how seamlessly it integrates into their life.
There is a scene where David is at one of his desks typing on his extremely flat keyboard and Reggie calls to go over his plans for the presentation he is doing to highlight the features he has found useful while playing with his pair of the glasses. While talking to Reggie we see the overload that is not too far from what most of us go through more often than we would like to. All being displayed right in front of David in a very claustrophobic way that I can imagine would only emphasize any feelings of stress the user was already feeling. First it is just Reggie’s head floating in front of David, but David is now infatuated with Sophie and has lost any ability to differentiate her from the avatar he created in her image mostly. So David keeps messaging her and expecting a result, and when it does not come he just fills it in himself. So Reggie’s head and Sophie, then the texts start to come from his co-worker that he is not helping, and then they escalate to the point that his boss is also texting him to ask why he is not being cooperative. All this while David tries to work, but you can see he has lost that ability almost completely as he just keeps opening the avatar program, and tinkering with it while hoping the rest will all just go away.
The story degrades, and there is no real ending. You are left to decide for yourself what choices you feel David will make. I do not recommend this movie to most people, I would say it is one that can be avoided by most people all together. Some good performances but not enough to make the main story interesting, or to fill all the slow empty feeling parts. Not a terrible movie just bland, and if not for the effects and the signs of neat tech all over the place I would not recommend it at all.
Adult themes and a fair amount of nudity, but other than the activities leading to a black eye there is very little in the way of violence. So a grown up movie that is mentally much younger.
Something unique though in this world full of the same things, I think this is a good sign of things to come from Amazon Studios. What did you think? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, or you can find me on Twitter anytime.