Updated: Jul 1, 2020
Who Among Us presents itself to its audience in the form of an ultra-modern game show, watched by billions around the world. The contestants participate in a range of different challenges to eventually conclude by deciding correctly which individual involved is the hidden android amongst the rest of the human contestants; the winner is then awarded $500 million. This short film is centred around the grand finale of said game show, focusing on the last remaining contestants – Seven and Drake. Throughout the duration of the film, mind-twisting events begin to unravel to reveal the show’s own hidden truth.
From the beginning of the short, the audience is immediately captivated by brightly coloured settings and enticing cinematography. The colours bring forth a sense of joy and pure entertainment, exactly how you would envision a game show to be, presently and further into the future of television. These bursting colours perfectly contrast with the uncomfortable atmosphere that the show’s intention represents, as well as the invasive dialogue the host, Dr. Nadio (played by Terry He,) speaks towards the contestants without possessing any remorse. Cinematographer, Mike Onley, used this open contrast to his advantage and created a naturalistic game show style whilst still playing with the element of the uncomfortable energy felt throughout the film.
The performances are also a wonderfully striking aspect of this short film. Terry He (Dr. Nadio) and Susana Borosic (Seven) in particular show great depth into their character’s personalities. Susana Borosic’s ability to express genuine fear and confusion in her identity was amazing; the emotions didn’t feel forced or over acknowledged, they simply flourish from the personality she built up from the starting point for her character. As an audience member, I was filled with many reactions to her breakdown, I felt sympathy for her and also matching confusion in her identity as well – I was stunned at the fact that I was able to share her seemingly bottomless uncertainty and bewilderment.
Terry He presents his host character as having a programmed, over-structured presence, which completely makes sense as his true self is shown at the climax point of the film. His stance in each scene is uniquely unsettling and comes across quite apathetic. The audience are faced with a very different personality to dissect compared to the contestants, adding an interesting level to the short. It is almost as if the character doesn’t have a personality at all, like he has been created for that game show specifically and not to live within our world freely… and all inquiries alike are answered by the end of the film.
The most praise-worthy element of this short film is the writing itself. The exploration of the subject being addressed through the game show theme is its greatest possession. The show packs a futuristic presentation but still ties in with present issues. The writers and directors, Rebecca Kahn and Abhishek Prasad, intended to show how the media and pressure from a wide audience can cause a person to doubt what they know for certain to be true, such as their own identity and place within society. Current reality television is seen to specifically exploit and bend the truth in this way – our humanity understands and recognises the damages that media can cause but it is also hard to step away from, especially in an environment so consumed in media and forever advancing technology. Who Among Us uses this relevant issue and places it in a future situation where advanced bots become indistinguishable from humans. It is unclear if the game show’s host is following a script or instead manipulating and pressing down on the contestants for his own sense of power; showing the dangers of different situations and levels of ‘superiority’ in the public eye.
“Are we just a glitch away from disaster? Or are we a glitch away from a great discovery?”
Who Among Us is an exciting and thought provoking sci-fi based short film. Each viewer will be left with a lot of inquisitive attention towards how our future may progress to be, as well as how our own reality is dealing with the technology and knowledge that we already have.