Status: short film written and directed by Richard Williamson.

May 24, 2014 | By | Reply More

STATUS from Richard Williamson on Vimeo.

‘Status’ is a vision of a digital dystopia. Statlink is a social network based on technological implants which link users directly. Think instantaneous live tweets without all the boring typing and reading. To access your status updates, you simply touch an implant on your wrist and vocalise your comments. Memories, both your own and those uploaded by others, are available to review.

http://vimeo.com/51572637

The story centres on Emily and her relationship with Jason. He is frustrated with her constant use of statlink and they are growing apart. Imagine Emily’s frustration when one of her network friends broadcasts Jason mid infidelity. The weather outside grows dark and wet as news reports in the background tell of growing problems with statlink technology and users are advised to seek urgent medical help if they are experiencing difficulties. Emily spirals down into self-absorption and desperation and the voices in her head get louder.

Status: short film written and directed by Richard Williamson.

Status: short film written and directed by Richard Williamson.

This is a short film with great ambitions. It tries to extrapolate our society’s increasing obsession with social networking but painted in the bleakest tones. There is no doubt that the future of this tech is presented as a powerfully negative force. It is quite interesting then that the director has links to both Twitter and Facebook underneath the video link.

The actors make the most of their roles in this short film. Ellen Grimshaw as Emily does a nice job of presenting her downward descent into digital madness. James Ballard as Jason has his acting intensity turned up to 11 throughout. Richard Williamson both writes and directs the film and clearly tries to tap into fears about the spread of social media and its effects on users and society at large.

Two years on and the fears seem a little extreme. The main proponent of this negative view of social media has always been traditional news sources such as TV and print journalism. They always have had a vested interest in suppressing this instant and free source of information. Personally, it seems that no matter how sophisticated the technology most people will still use it to post pictures of funny cats.

Throughout film history, SF has loved a bleak dystopian vision. From ‘The Terminator’ to ‘The Time Machine’, the future is often brutal and dangerous. Usually, the source of such troubles are alien or artificial intelligence in origin. ‘Status’ leaves the source of the trouble a little vaguely defined. Would such an implanted system not need vigorous beta testing before new updates?

Perhaps it is asking too much of a short film to go into too much detail. The near future Australia is clearly populated by the same lonely and bitchy people as our world. We can recognise the idiots and trolls of our Internet taken to a more invasive level. I am not sure I would want my own Facebook contacts to have access to the intimate details of my life. I think I will stick to the funny cats and pictures of my dinner.

‘Status’ clearly wants to be a bigger film. Everyone involved does all they can with the material and the results are better than okay. The photography is dark and the soundtrack full of 80s electronic touches. Once or twice glimpses of the bigger film may be seen and appreciated.

Andy Bollan

May 2014

cast: Ellen Grimshaw and James Ballard

check out website: http://vimeo.com/51572637

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Category: Films, Scifi

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