movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] You are being watched!

PLOT SUMMARY: In the future, there are a LOT of cameras. Everywhere. Eventually, mobile cameras are introduced. But are these cameras killing people? Is there a conspiracy to kill the president?

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): America fails at protecting democracy and liberty.

PEOPLE: Written and directed by Richard Clabaugh. Starring Adrian Paul (Duncan MacLeod in Highlander:Endgame/The Source and the TV series) as the agent, Megan Blake as the hot, older reporter, and Luke Eberl as the purple-haired musician who just so happens to be the president’s nephew. But of course nobody knows this, as journalists in this day & age would lose their journalism license if they were to ever report on such a fact. Terrorism is a big scare in this movie. Also with Danny Trejo, who’s in so many movies that he watches movies without realizing he’s in them, and then goes, “Hey! I’m in this!”.

QUIRKS: Terrorism politics. Technology. Paranoia. Action. These are a few of my favorite things…

VISUALS: Those robots are really creepy. This pretty much depicts how I DON’T want things to turn out.

SOUNDTRACK: Bad Religion’s 21st Century Digital Boy! Used somewhat appropriately, actually. Definitely appropros for the movie.

POLITICS/MORALS: Putting blind faith in technology is even more dangerous than putting blind faith in god. God stopped lying to us after the bible was written. Technology can invent new lies that harm us in new ways. Just because technology is awesome — and a positive force for humanity — doesn’t mean we can take it as a substitute for the real thing. Seeing something on camera is not the same as seeing it with your own two eyes.

Also, it is important that citizenry retain (and maintain) the right to record our public servants as they perform their duties. If we cannot record police, politicians, and congress, then we don’t really know what they are doing, do we?

Also, sites like WikiLeaks preserve freedom by allowing a place for critical leaks to be deployed to the public. While the movie didn’t directly cover this, it is an implication of the movie nonetheless.

And above all — beware electronic voting machines that have no clear way of verifying their results!

One more thing! This movie also shows how even the smallest details can be used against you in ways you don’t expect.

Oh wait! Another thing! Actual eyeborgs in real life may not be far off. Here’s a prototype already in development. Well, actually, it’s not really a prototype in development. But if it was in development, do you think they’d tell us? I’m writing this article in 8/2010, but it’s not going to post until 5/2013. I wonder how much farther this will have come by then. [Edit: Pretty far. They now actually have mosquito sized drones, which can of course carry miniature cameras! Amazing. In just 2.75 years, things have progressed even more than I thought after watching Eyeborgs.]

GOOD STUFF: Great political paranoia! And the ending? Oh my god. That’s probably the most realistic part of the movie right there. [highlight for spoilers] You won’t be happy, but it is well worth the wait.

BAD STUFF: The movie comes off as a cerebral, paranoia-inducing, techno-political conspiracy/suspense — but then it partially descends into an action flick with robot fights, guns, and a bomb. The profound political conspiracy would have come off better without the mindless action, and the action would have come off better without the slow conspiracy beginning. The two different aspects of this movie tended to detract from each other, rather than add to each other.

CONCLUSION: The techno-politics, surveillance paranoia, and implicit* political commentary of this movie is AMAZING. The ending is a GREAT TWIST, without really being too big of a stretch (at least, not when compared to the premise). This is like 1984 meets The Matrix (but without as much action). It was a slow build-up — not a lot of excitement per se — and then later half made the mistake of focusing on the action at the expense of the story. This movie, unlike most, had the potential to be a 10/10, but blew it. I still give it an 8/10 — a high 8. Carolyn gave it a 9. I’m sorely tempted to.

*[Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of EXplicit political commentary too.]

Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 8.4/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10. “Still had a few loose ends I wanted tied up.”

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 5.0/10, Netflix: 2.6/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.1/5 stars–it knew we’d like this more than average, at least). It seems like the public just doesn’t get the importance of technological politics (This review was written in August, 2010). After all, if they did, they’d be more livid than they currently are.

RECOMMENDATION: Paranoia-loving, surveillance society-hating, George Orwell fans, politics lovers, surveillance haters — you all need to watch this… NOW. It’s not quite a masterpiece, but it’s pretty damn good!

SIMILAR MOVIES: Metropia. It’s like a small-scale, low-action, animated version of this movie. I now consider Metropia to be a “failed animated Eyeborgs”, though Metropia is about mind control [and not just surveillance], and thus has a different kind of paranoid feel to it.

Mood: full
Music: Voivod – Nanoman