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Plato's Reality Machine
Genre Sci-Fi
 
Review:

For Charles, video games are an escape, but when Sophia leads him on a mysterious quest through the spaceship, Plato... he discovers in the game of life, every heart is a moving target. Plato's Reality Machine is a sci-fi comedy romance that explores the lives of six New Yorkers via three unique perspectives.

Writer-Director Myles Sorensen has assembled an independent film with a fresh-faced cast of up-and-coming talents in Trieste Kelly Dunn, Ed Renninger, Carolina Bartczak, Doug Roland, Heather Shisler and Nathan Spiteri.

Sorensen's experimental blend of first-person video game and New York romance drama is ambitious as the film-maker tries to bridge three dimensions and genres. The film feels like you're channel-hopping after being thrust in the deep end. This multi-format keeps the saga intriguing as you try to make sense of the evolving narrative, but the storytelling is fragmented to the point that the video game simply laces a number of interesting sketches together.

Plato's Reality Machine is a curious title and Sorensen has created an independent film that seems more like a showcase for his actors than a singular story. The writing is equally curious, delving into the psyche and concocting some imaginative dramatic scenarios for its characters. It's also somewhat alienating, exacerbated by the ensemble drama and making you feel like you know less about the characters by the time the credits roll.

At one point, it seemed as though the blurred lines of reality and unreality were turning Charles into a front page headline waiting to happen. This story blend of video game addiction and trigger-happy reality has edge and it would have been interesting to see it play out beyond the bar scene, or better yet, become a film of its own.

Sorensen tries to get behind the curtain by breaking the fourth wall with character interviews. While it's an interesting ploy, the multi-tier perspectives create an inconsistent and alienating feel to Plato's Reality Machine. We're drawn into each world, but without a anchoring character or sense of continuity, we find ourselves adrift.

Plato's Reality Machine is bold, fiercely independent and its promising cast go with the flow. Unfortunately, the end result is discordant, never fully establishing a rhythm for the audience or its characters. The suspense of the unpredictable keeps us on our toes, but each scene teases us with a happening that never materialises. Plato's Reality Machine is an ambitious film with its head and heart in the right space, but the story and characters just seem out-of-reach.

The bottom line: Discordant

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