For me this film has more negatives than positives about it. The start of the film raises interesting and important issues about identity, life choice, regret, the right to choose how you are portrayed, if it should be possible to completely sell your image and then why we make the choices that we make (even if they go against our beliefs). The second part is excellently animated, colourful, imaginative, psychedelic and funny. The final part explores the implications of living in a fantasy world and denial of the truth.
The biggest niggle I have is that it feels like two films that don't belong together. Very few of the juicy questions of the first act where expanded upon or explored in the second. Or if they are, they are obscured by the mixed metaphors and confusing tangents in the animated world.
What the plot effectively puts forward is this: We invent a way to replace actors by scanning and animating them, and then in the future people live in a drug induced fantasy world, finally we loose touch with what is real and while living in a utopia in our heads we live in squalor in real life. The film does a very bad job of justifying how these points were reached. Of course sci-fi uses far fetched ideas and would be pointless without the wilful suspension of disbelief. But honestly they lost me as soon as she took the drugs to enter the animated world. (In fact it was so random and over the top that I thought we were just watching a short dream sequence or spoof sci-fi film the likes of which she specifically said in her contract that she did not want to be in!)
On top of this disconnect between the two stories, the narrative thread falls apart in the animated world. There are so many conflicting ideas introduced that its hard to tell what actually means anything and what anything actually means. Perhaps this is the point the film is trying to make? There is of course the narrative thread of the actress who has to make difficult decisions to survive and protect her family, she gets caught up in a revolution, (goes mad?), wakes up in a dystopian future and then tries to find her lost son. But again the impact of this thread is almost completely lost in the mess of confused ideas.
I cant help feeling like the film would have been better off if it had just focused on the main protagonist in the present. The affects of being digitised could slowly unravel and we get to see the emotional toll that that took on her and her family leading finally to a real conclusion. Perhaps it could climax in some decisive action to regain her identity, or hopeless resignation to the unfairness of it all, or a revelation that there are some things that cannot be bought and can never be taken away from you. Its such a shame it had to fly off on an incoherent tangent after such a sober and well constructed beginning.
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