The black-and-white indie “Creative Control” is set “five minutes in the future” in Brooklyn.
That means there are see-through phones and laptops and fashionable glasses — very much like Google Glass — that act like a smartphone.
Unfortunately, the people in this future are shallow, selfish and depressing.
Of course, that’s the theme of “Creative Control”: Technology is robbing us of our humanity. But the film seems to have been robbed of it, too. There’s no humanity left to warn us about losing our humanity.the4
Director and co-writer Benjamin Dickinson stars as the bearded David, whose company is hired to advertise the new glasses. He’s good at his job, even though it stresses him out. He frequently swallows what look like buttons (an adorable future drug?) and gulps booze after work.
His girlfriend Juliette (Nora Zehetner, from Rian Johnson’s “Brick”), is a yoga instructor who senses she’s losing him but doesn’t know how to reach him.
His best friend, fashion photographer Wim (Dan Gill), reaches him by texting him photos of his sexual conquests, both with models and with his girlfriend, Sophie (Alexia Rasmussen).
After a late-night, drunken kiss, David becomes besotted with Sophie and begins using his new glasses to have a virtual affair with her.
Unfortunately for “Creative Control,” the affair feels empty, just as every other relationship feels empty. It doesn’t matter if these characters jump into bed with each other or with avatars of each other. It’s hard to feel anything either way.
Not even the comedian Reggie Watts, playing himself, can add anything even remotely resembling a laugh (or a smile) to the proceedings.
On the plus side, cinematographer Adam Newport-Berra creates a superb, steely-sleek cityscape, and the digital effects are appropriately impressive.
If only the movie had done something… anything. It could have been dangerous like Kathryn Bigelow’s “Strange Days,” creepy like David Cronenberg’s “eXistenZ,” tender like Spike Jonze’s “Her” or mysterious like Alex Garland’s “Ex Machina.”
Instead we’re left with a handful of grim, empty characters. In this world, it would certainly make sense to want to seek a kind of refuge inside virtual reality, pills, booze or sex. Better still, how about a different movie?
Two and a half stars
Starring: Benjamin Dickinson, Nora Zehetner, Dan Gill, Alexia Rasmussen
Written by: Benjamin Dickinson, Micah Bloomberg
Directed by: Benjamin Dickinson
Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes