Meewella | Critic

According to P

Tag: Drake Doremus

QuickView: Zoe (2018)

“Sometimes they don’t really desire you. They desire the way you make them feel.”


Following Equals and Newness, director Drake Doremus continues his exploration of human relationships with Zoe, which largely falls into the same pitfalls of interesting concepts executed blandly and with musings more derivative than profound. His focus here is society’s use of technology as a solution for crumbling relationships and intimacy, explored through the story of a relationship between an engineer and a “synthetic” human. The material is more thought-provoking than Doremus’ past work, though much of the heavy lifting is left to the viewer — neither the story nor the engagement with its ideas is as deftly handled as Her (which was evidently an influence). Zoe suggests that human connection with a synthetic may break when confronted with their artificiality, but this makes little sense when applied to the creator of a synthetic, for whom every detail ought to be a reminder. This is no slight on the actors, who deliver understated and tender performances, including an underutilised Christina Aguilera as an older model of synthetic. The film’s most interesting aspect is recreational use of a new pharmaceutical drug that chemically simulates the experience of falling in love, though again the script fails to engage with the fundamental question of which experience is more real: a genuine internal reaction to an external artificiality, or an artificially synthesised internal reaction to another human. Instead, the audience is left to drift through this slow-moving sci-fi with increasing disengagement.


QuickView: Newness (2017)

“I think we’re going to get bored of each other.”

Gabi Silva

After a cynical opening look at the hookup culture facilitated by dating apps, the film follows a new couple who want a more meaningful connection despite meeting after they change their statuses in exasperation to “DTF”. Concerned about boredom in the absence of new experiences, the couple start to experiment, flirting with others and then taking it further. The setup is ripe for an intriguing exploration of polyamory in the modern world and the film’s middle act seems to be leaning in that direction. Sadly, the desire for a more conventional conclusion requires it to abandon this more interesting avenue. Ironically, then, there is little new here. The most compelling ideas come from the older man Gabi meets, whose transactional view of relationships is unromantic and yet more realistic than anything else on display.


"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

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