Fake girlfriends cause real problems in Benjamin Dickinson's future-shock indie
Shot in a widescreen black-and-white that entices as it chills, Creative Control sees a future that's almost here — you know, a place where where communication is mostly digital. Director and co-writer Benjamin Dickinson (First Winter) is a protean talent. The dude also stars as David, an ad exec at an übercool agency in Brooklyn – midtown Manhattan is sneered at as "emotional Afghanistan." David's boss, played by Vice magazine co-founder Gavin McInnes, puts him in charge of Augmenta, eyewear that moves Google glasses into tricky, new territory. Needing a fresh approach, David turns to Reggie Watts, playing himself as a master of experimental comedy and music. "You're a fucking genius," says the bossman. "No," says David, "I'm just younger than you." Ouch!
As you might have guessed, Augmenta soon begins taking over David's life. When his emotional problems with yoga-instructor girlfriend Juliette (Nora Zehetner) become too much — real life will do that to you — David avails himself of the device's image-capture feature. All he needs to do is find a babe who turns him on, such as Sophie (Alexia Rasmussen), the GF of his randy photographer friend, Wim (Dan Gill), and create a virtual avatar of her. No harm done. Only David can see the virtual Sophie he creates from air-taping on his keyboard. And, suddenly, there's Sophie, naked when he wants her to be and ready to do his wicked bidding. Complications ensue when Juliette gets wind of David's augmented life.
Dickinson and the gifted cinematographer Adam Newport-Berra create visual motifs that command attention. OK, sometimes there's less filmmaking here than shameless showing off. Also, it's impossible not to hear echoes of Her and Ex Machina. But Creative Control goes its own playful, provocative way. For a film about technology's growing dehumanization, this stylized beauty is a frisky, formidable temptation.