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Mapped short film review


Directed by: Rachel Tillotson

Written by: Steph Lloyd Jones, Rachel Tillotson

Starring: Dee Ahluawalia, Valentina Carrasco Thayer, Flinn McManus, Isabella Ferreyros, Jean-Tristan Camenen

Poster for Mapped showing figure behind glass.
Poster for Mapped

A high-tech company has invented a service that convinces people that they can communicate with deceased loved ones. This service involves a person (or client) entering a special room that is right next to another special room, inside which is a company employee, who pretends to be the one who died. This process is possible because the two rooms are connected by a unique glass and when the client looks through it and thanks to advanced technology, they see their departed loved (who is actually the employee) and they wear the clothing they used to wear and speak with the voice they used to have. The employee who 'impersonates' the deceased is called a 'mapper' and they have studied the life of the deceased and the relationship they had with their loved one (the client), and speak as if they were actually them and move, creating a sort of digital puppet show. The clients pay a fee and are unaware of the employee and believe that they are speaking to a manifestation of a person that has passed away.

The story takes place during one of these 'meetings'. Elliot (Ahluawalia) is a mapper for Pontem Technologies and is about to begin his first session with Audrey (Thayer), whose half-brother Ben (McManus) passed away under very dramatic circumstances. Audrey is looking to reconcile with Ben and move on with her life. Accompanying her is her friend Leslie (Ferreyros), who strikes up a conversation with company associate Ivan (Camenen), while she waits for Audrey. During the conversation between Ben and Audrey, a shocking discovery is made.

This is a rather interesting and emotional sci-fi drama with a rather engaging plot. The film argues whether such a service would be right. It argues whether it is justified to convince people that they are really seeing and interacting with the ones who are no longer with them and if necessary tell them lies in order to make them feel better, that an uplifting lie is better than the hardest truth.

The cast deliver strong performances, with Ahluawalia convincing as a person who is keen to do a good job as a mapper but begins to doubt that his job is righteous. Thayer is moving as Ben's half-sister, who is deeply traumatized by his passing needs to sort her feelings out. Camenen is amusing and sinister as an ambitious and cunning man, who seems to have his own plans for Pontem.

Composer Kirsten Evans makes an outstanding contribution. The wonderfully composed score includes sounds of violin, harp and electronic music and at times it sounds idyllic for a science fiction film. The music accompanies the images quite effectively and creates a variety of feelings, including tension, peacefulness and sorrow. Evans clearly worked extensively and the result proves that.

This science fiction short has good acting, great music, well-written dialogue and evolves around a rather intriguing idea: people communicating with the deceased. It also asks whether a lie is just if it makes someone feel better.



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