Directed by: Simon Lex Starring: Ben Gilbert, Katie Villa, Victoria Lucie, Natalie Bird, Martha Liversedge, Emerson Pike, Kelly Marie-Miller, Lucy Theobald Short Film Review by: Chris Olson
It was rebellious pop artist Andy Warhol who once remarked; in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. Whilst the definition of fame differs between cultures, often notoriety is the aim and in 2018 the window is very much 15 minutes at most. This context is important when considering short film IT GIRL from director Simon Lex, whose story contains characters whose irreverent attitude towards gaining social media gratification is macabre bordering on psychotic.
Ian (Ben Gilbert) is an everyman whose chance to bolster his Instagram presence comes in the form of happening upon the body of a local missing girl. Sensing the photo opportunity of a lifetime, his candid camerawork garners him 300 likes, which he feels pretty proud of until a co-worker informs Ian that a further exploitation of the situation could result in even larger social media notoriety.
A telling, and frankly wholeheartedly depressing black comedy (if only because of it's nail-on-the-head astuteness), IT GIRL is painfully relevant and audiences will likely connect with the themes of soulless social media etiquette at least in part. Lex handles this digital dilemma with masterful wit and entertaining visuals, such as the little heart icon that displays across the screen, or the scrolling feed approach to the end credits.
The performance from Gilbert is wonderful. His eager enthusiasm and complete lack of compassion are unusual qualities that make him a terrific character to follow, and of which Gilbert makes plentiful use. There is a marvelous sequence (which I won't plot spoil) where he ends up with dirt on his backside that is hilarious and brutally poignant. The supporting players are also very good, such as Emerson Pike who plays the dickish co-worker with skill and aplomb.
There was a vibrancy to IT GIRL which is also engaging. The vast majority of the scenes were bright and colourful, almost as if we were seeing this world through a filter. And it's this veneer that's being placed over people's lives that seems to be at the heart of this story. These characters are so detached from the horrific reality that someone has been listed as missing, possibly dead, that their first concern is how the wording of their tweet about the “tragedy” will reflect on them. This, strangely, makes them very sympathetic characters for the audience, who will witness their clinical and superficial behavior as a consequence of the digital age we live in.
Bitingly funny and worthy of a thousand retweets, Lex’s IT GIRL is one of our generation’s defining fables…
Now, I just need a corpse I can post this film review next to.
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