FILM REVIEW: Reboot

“The world needs a hard reboot”

Set within a dystopian world that is a collision between technology and humanity, “Reboot” touches upon many of the current social and political concerns that arise from becoming more and more intertwined with the virtual.

In contemporary Los Angeles, a young female hacker (Stat) awakens from unconsciousness to find an iPhone glued to her hand and a mysterious countdown ticking away on the display. Suffering from head trauma, and with little recollection of who she is or what is happening, Stat races against time to figure out what the code means, and what unknown event the pending zero-hour will bring.

Can too much technology be a bad thing or merely a reflection of the bad choices we make in how we use it?

This is the central question that is posed in the web short Reboot and depending on where you stand on the debate will influence how you view this film. To help guide you through the film we have the different opposing views as shown by the main heroine Stat and our villain Jesse. It would be easy to side with Stat who is quirky, clever and is having one hell of a shitty day as opposed to her counterpart Jesse who will do anything and hurt anyone  to ‘make his point’. However some of the questions raises during the course of the film (especially in the opening sequence) do give you pause for thought.

Reboot does tread that well-worn path showing us the dangers of our ever-increasing dependence on technology but I don’t think the message has ever been more important than now. Many of us live our lives in the glare  of social media. We check our Facebook status updates on our phones before we say good morning to our loved ones. Even our darkest moments of self-doubt and depression are documented and transmitted to our social media family, whether we have a personal connection to those people behind the profiles or not. One particular act of terror that Jesse perpetrates against his girlfriend shows us one simple and horrible use of these tools in the hands of a sociopath. It’s a terrifying scene that the actress sells perfectly in which Jesse grants her wish to be both famous and remembered.

The acting is great and is showcased in a brilliant verbal battle/debate between Stat and Jesse in a coffee shop. The dialogue is sharp and as a fellow programmer it’s nice to see these guys shown as something other than the socially awkward outsiders that mainstream TV and film would have us believe.

“Payback is imminent. Lines will be drawn. You’ll want to be on the right side when it does.”

Reboot is engaging and thought-provoking with solid performances from the cast. The film leaves you with the impression that there were a lot more to these characters stories and relationships than is shown. There is clearly a history there that I would have loved to be explored further. Reboot works well as a feature-length film or a web series as the message and characters scream for more screen time.

Given that this film has been shot on a budget provided by kickstarter funds it shows its power for raising finances and what can be achieved. The money has been well spent and the film looks great and certainly doesn’t look like it’s been made on a shoestring budget. There’s a fantastic opening sequence where time-lapse techniques are combined with a radio show in which some of the principal characters argue over the pros and cons of technology. It’s a fantastic way to set the stage for our players and puts out the important questions for the audience to debate long after the film has ended. I would also suggest people to rewatch the opening sequence after you watch the film as there is definitely more to be gained second time around.

The soundtrack also scores high marks as again, like the production values, feels like they were in big budget territory rather than short web film. If people are still thinking that web series and web films are still the poor relation to TV in terms of look and story telling then think again because their little web cousin is growing up fast.

Reboot doesn’t add anything new to the debate but is a highly watchable short film with some great visual and musical touches that leaves you wanting to know more.

Reboot is released  on 12-12-12. You can get more info on the film here.

GS Reviewer: Nuge

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