Cinema and Cyberspace collide in this fascinating study of the effects of the internet. Debbie Harry‘s echoing narration guides us through history and cinematic timelines, how easily we welcomed computers into our homes, and how swiftly technology transitioned from entertainment to an eventual subconscious weapon. Amanda Kramer‘s SO UNREAL reminds us how films push the boundaries of our technological imagination, and they predict them for better or worse.
The film delves into everything from hackers to virtual reality, cyber sex to anxiety-inducing, and the near-future prospect of a potential AI uprising. Harry talks audiences through an eclectic group of films like The Matrix, Tron, Weird Science, The Net, Hackers, The Lawnmower Man (one of my guilty pleasures), and a 1995 film loaded with untold apocalyptic prophecies, Strange Days.
The script could be an audiobook or podcast all its own. Harry describes the entire play-by-play as if creating the alt text of an Instagram post. Jon Cooper’s graphics are a time capsule that comes to life. Enhanced by Josh Ascalon‘s ominous, 80s-inspired score and Benjamin Shearn‘s immaculate editing of sporadic audio clips and archival footage, SO UNREAL is a hypnotic head trip.
You’ll want to rush out and (re)watch every film mentioned in SO UNREAL. At a minimum, Kramer has one hell of a conversation starter across generations of cinephiles and tech users alike. A frightening peak into studio exec minds where actors are rendered obsolete, SO UNREAL is a terrifying and mesmerizing gut punch and navigation through an already curated online reality.