David (Benjamin Dickinson) in Creative Control.
By Miranda Inganni
Director Benjamin Dickinson’s slickly styled Creative Control is, at its heart, an old fashioned love story set in the near future Brooklyn, New York; but it is also a cautionary tale about our dependence on technology.
Ad exec David (Dickinson) has been given the chance to play around with a new high-tech product, Augmenta. It’s a virtual reality platform that his company is trying to figure out how best to sell to the masses. David must perform! Added to the pressure David is experiencing at work, he is also going through a rough patch with his live-in girlfriend, Juliette (Nora Zehetner). David finds inspiration in the form of Sophie (Alexia Rasmussen), the girlfriend of his best pal, Wim (Dan Gill). As he spends more and more time with “Sophie,” thanks to the technology of the Augmenta glasses, David withdraws from the rest of his life.
Creative Control is quite impressive to watch. It is beautifully shot by Adam Newport-Berra in black and white, with just a hint of color here and there. The technology depicted in the film is believable and the special effects are never a distraction. And there is an excellent vomit scene.
However, the four lead characters come across as somewhat boring hipsters for whom it is hard to care. David is bored in the bedroom, so he crushes on another woman. Juliette is frustrated with David, so she practices yoga with another man (Paul Manza). Wim is a self-absorbed philanderer, who only decides to commit to Sophie when he thinks he might lose her. Sophie…well, Sophie is just kind of dull. She is very pretty and stylish, but she doesn’t really do anything.
Winner of the Visual Excellence Award at SXSW, Creative Control is a pleasure to watch and a decent story (co-written by Dickinson and Micah Bloomberg). While mine may not be the popular opinion, I find the characters not quite fleshed out enough. This is apt considering David’s retreat to spend time with his virtual reality sex toy. When the people around you don’t feel fully formed, perhaps all you can do is create your own special friend.