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Interesting (but familiar) ideas which are not developed with enough of the heart to make them really engage
Sometimes with short films you have to be aware of the context in which they were made, to perhaps view them with a level of appreciation that they deserve. I think a few times I have been harsh on a film without knowing it was made from scratch in 24 hours, or some other such competition environment – it doesn't mean the film was somehow better for me knowing this, but at least it explained why it was perhaps weak in some areas. I mention this because Memory 2.0 is part of a short film competition where the winner is given a deal with a production company to then develop that short into a feature; this context is significant because perhaps understandably the main thing lacking in this short film is development.
A contributor on a blog I visit, pointed out that similar themes had been done much better in the Black Mirror episode called The Entire History of You, and although the two are not overly similar, it is true to say that the TV show had done it much better, because it had a lot of heart, pain and realism about it, with the ideas part of this – things that the short doesn't do as well, perhaps for the reasons I state. The base part of the short is nothing about sci-fi, it does appear to be about a man struggling to let go of his memories of a lover – using technology to relive them daily even though we are told this comes with risks. These risks are what drives the man to find an alternative way to do this, with another character who muddies the relationship and also confused me regarding what happened to Sophie; such details bugging me also distracted from the limited emotional core of the film, which was a shame again.
The delivery of the memories and the characters are done with tenderness and warmth, so it does make the viewer understand why the lead character is stuck where he is; the memory and other scenes are all well acted and look good too, but not to the point where the short needed to be developed to either be more detailed or, better, to be more focused and simpler (not having narrative details which distract by suggesting things with no answer) and really concentrate on getting the heart of the potential feature in there, not the detail.
It is still an interesting watch but it is limited as to what it does because it doesn't develop the one area where it needed it the most – the heart of the lead character. Perhaps a feature could do it better with more time and resources, however there are several TV shows and films that already do this, so perhaps in terms of the competition, this is something that may work against it.
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