The revolution may not be televised, but it will be personalized. In the future, you will be able to get what you need and give it the face you want, the personality you like, and the bustline you desire. Make way for tomorrow.
Set in the near-future, Creative Control centers on David (Benjamin Dickinson), an ad executive hotshot—a little bit Christian Bale, a little bit Adam Scott, and a whole lot of Don Draper—at a firm that is trying to land a new, game-changing client, Augmenta, a virtual reality device housed in a pair of reading glasses.
David is in the business of selling and sex sells, so naturally, David’s life intersects a great deal with carnal pleasures. His best friend, Wim (Dan Gill), is a slovenly, mustachioed photographer who sleeps with most—if not all—of his models, despite his serious relationship with Sophie (Alexia Rasmussen), who works with David and happens to be the object of his affection.
David yearns for Sophie as the heat in his relationship with Juliette (Nora Zehetner) dies out. But his friendship with Wim keeps him from acting on impulse. That is until Sophie starts sending David signals that she might be into him.
Augmenta is a futuristic product, one that resembles Google Glass, but with the added benefit of virtual reality, which David discovers on accident. Drunk and despondent, David is delighted to discover that he can use Augmenta to produce a 3D image of a woman, paste Sophie’s face onto it and alter the physical appearance. Unable to act in reality, David creates a Sophie that willfully loves him, sleeps with him, and parades around for him. David quickly becomes detached from his relationship, his friendships, and his work. David, in essence, becomes addicted.
In addition to starring, Dickinson directs and co-writes with Micah Bloomberg this small budget labor of love, one that takes technology’s hold on the modern-day individual and moves it one step forward. Everyone at some point has slept walked through a job or a relationship, giving just enough for life-support. But this commitment is always predicated on lack of distraction. Who stays at a crappy job when a better one is offered? Who stays in a loveless marriage when white-hot passion exists down the street? In the future, and maybe today, that distraction doesn’t need to be in another office or down the street but at our fingertips. Thanks to the Internet and virtual reality, we have nothing but distractions to keep us from engaging in our miserable yet magical lives.
The joke Creative Control plays, and it plays quite a few, is that employing black and white photography and presenting a narrative full of style and visual wit engages the audience for the entirety of the running time. Creative Control is equal parts satire and science fiction, but how Dickinson and his team present these images is what makes a movie about disengaging so engaging.
Creative Control (2015)
Directed by: Benjamin Dickinson
Written by: Benjamin Dickinson & Micah Bloomberg
Produced by: Mark De Pace, Zachary Mortensen, Melody C. Roscher, Craig Shilowich
Starring: Benjamin Dickinson, Nora Zehetner, Dan Gill, Alexia Rasmussen, Reggie Watts
Magnolia Pictures, Rated R, Running time 97, Opens March 18, 2016