Friday, 2 January 2015

Her (2013)

Hmm....I still think this said the same thing but in a better, more poetic and certainly more concise manner;

Her is a Spike Jonze film that concerns a heartbroken man played by Joaquin Phoenix whose marriage has ended so messily that he has slowly cut himself off from normal interaction to become an introverted somewhat dysfunctional person with little faith in getting back on his feet or finding someone else to love. He's clearly depressed, but in a somewhat comfortable rut and, knowing he needs to organise his life a little better to get it back on track in some way, he installs a new operating system or 'OS'; the latest technology. The computer is tailored to its user and adopts a sweet, upbeat voice (Scarlett Johansson) based on what it believes he requires. It also takes the name 'Samantha' and appears to have its own playful and intuitive personality, which our hero ultimately falls in love with.

Jonze's film is an interesting riff on the notion that technology has become an indispensable and necessary tool for modern life, but it also understands how manipulative such advances have become on us as people. We have become so heavily reliant on technology that real life has become secondary to online life and how online life has to become more 'real' as the market demands. It explores how emotions in such a world can be easily manipulated and shaped to the extent that a somewhat emotionally stunted man can not only fall for something that doesn't really exist (except for him and via his interactions) but the population can farm out their innermost feelings to corporations, with Phoenix's character having an accomplished career writing Hallmark style personal/love letters for complete strangers. 

Like a Black Mirror episode, Her is set in a future just a few short leaps away, one in which we have anesthetized and given ourselves over to the very worst of technology, becoming absorbed in what was supposed to be extra curricular and making it primary in our lives for better or worse. However unlike Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror series, Her has a full feature length running time which means ultimately after a promising start the message starts to become somewhat repetitive. It's an interesting film and a great concept, but I think the ideas and the desire to explore them are stronger than the actual finished product.

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