18 August 2015 | bob the moo
Familiar cautionary tale but with clever delivery device
A teenage boy and girl are separated over the summer break, leaving the girl only communicating via the internet.
A story about the very public nature of the internet, and a cautionary tale to young teens, that trust the other end of that picture message to keep it as private as it was intended – all very familiar perhaps, and done many times in other places. With some topics just being done a lot it is hard to make any specific short stand out, and so credit to Vack for doing something a bit different in his delivery to add that extra level to make his film stand out from the pack. By mixing in a performance element, the film reminds us that all of this is literally playing out on a stage – and in the film we see that as posts and chats are "performed" on the stage in front of a mostly disinterested audience.
It is a risky device in some ways, and I am not sure it entirely works or entirely avoids feeling familiar, but it mostly does the trick. The message is familiar, but this device at least feels a fresh way of showing the public nature of the communication, and it is contrasted well with the reality (the privacy of the bedroom and one-to-one feel of the communication). Garner performs this well, with an innocence which supports the film, while Cannavale (son of Bobby) is typically confident and brash in his performance, as young men so often are when behind a keyboard (source: was once a young man).
It may not totally shake off the fact that the content is familiar, but the fresh delivery device adds to the material, makes the film more engaging, and makes for a stronger film.