Monday, 13 January 2014

Review: InRealLife (2013)

Following the phenomenal success of Blackfish (2013), Leviathan (2013) and The Act of Killing (2013) Dogwoof blasts out another title from its ever impressive canon. Beeban Kidron's documentary InRealLife (2013) tackles the complexities of the internet from many a disturbing angle. The director exercises her skill as a documentarian, with the many teenagers interviewed in the documentary candidly revealing their most intimate thoughts to the invisible wall, but as the film points out, the majority of teenagers are not averse to sharing their “private” feelings with anyone and everyone online. Kidron’s often poetic narrative weaves between the technicalities, cables and clouds to reveal the vulnerable teenagers caught up in the sticky world wide web.

InRealLife’s objective is to highlight the negative, focusing on over-exposure and the collection and storage of personal data. The many stories are juxtaposed with footage of interconnected cables and wires that are matched with lowly industrial roars suggestive of a monstrous presence that marks the darkness in the film’s direction. A teenage boy with a subnormal attitiude towards sex sets the scene. His porn obsession results in a lack of respect for women which is sadly brought to light when the camera captures his interaction with a woman on the Tube. Following this, an anonymous teenage girl tells the story of how she became the victim of a gang sex attack because she valued her smart phone more than she valued her own life.

These revelations are shocking to say the least and one can only hope that these teens are in the minority. Technical talking heads and experts including WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange provide the film’s backbone and although their educated knowledge gives the film credibility, their occasionally jargoned dialogue dilutes the film’s fighting spirit. The teenage subjects provide the film’s real gravitas. A gay teen in his first “relationship” meets with his partner for the first time. Kidron captures the awkwardness of a couple that only know how to communicate online. Hours after meeting, laid on a bed in silence, the pair rub their smart-phones together in some bizarre Barbarella-style mating ritual. It’s this scene that highlights the films overall message.

With smart-phones, social media and gaming platforms, the internet is creating a generation of youngsters who don’t know how to communicate in real life and have no concept of privacy or solitude. InRealLife, offers no solid conclusion to the epidemic but acts as an informative, entertaining and valid starting point for many a Byzantine debate. Parents will learn a great deal from the film and although it fails to offer any resolution, it dually educates and provides a valuable account of the chaos that has been caused by big and small fry internet bullies.

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