The ways in which technology has come to define modern society and the inherent downfalls have become a common topic within the science fiction genre. Perry Lam’s (“Tony“) latest short film “After_Life” creates a scenario that mimics a somewhat tried and true approach to technological tragedy, while injecting a degree of sincerity that makes it stand out amongst the many entires.
We are introduced to a young man whose time is spent catering to his mother, that appears to be suffering from some form of dementia. Consequently, the man has eschewed his social life in a bid to keep her happy and make sure she always has companionship. As the story progresses, we are introduced to cutting edge holographic technology that hints at playing a role in the relationship. As the family relationship is explored, the reason for the man’s deep devotion becomes tragically clear.
The story offers a fair amount of intrigue, and to stay spoiler-free, provides a twist that will catch some off guard. This shift in the narrative is not out of nowhere, but is rather nicely hidden in a way that not all audiences will be able to decipher immediately. What is apparent from the beginning, is that the twist will eventually lead to a deeply tragic revelation. Furthermore, the exploration of human relationships with technology starts on a somber tone, with an opening dream sequence that hints at some sort of disturbing clash with a holographic device. Overall, the story does a great job of balancing technological apprehension and the emotional reaction it can create.
The visuals act to compliment the production, particularly in the way it captures the emotions of its subjects. The actor’s frustrations, desires, and sorrow are expertly captured through great framing. Additionally, the cinematography remains complimentary within noticeably small locations, by using wide shots to avoid a sense of claustrophobia and breathes life into the space.
The emotional strength of the script and the intimate camerawork could have easily faltered under a dull lead performance. Thankfully, Kris Mavericko does a commendable job in tackling the array of emotions required for his role. The protagonist’s sorrow is particularly well portrayed when the tone of the film takes a dramatic shift in the narrative. Subsequently, the supporting roles all do a good job in supporting Mavericko, making for a well rounded experience.
“After_Life” is a well executed short film, utilizing a strong visual and narrative structure that feels nearly flawless. It is a deeply emotional engaging work that capitalizes on the current trends of technophobia that has launched series such as “Black Mirror” into infamy (although the comparison is more in trend and themes than delivery). Overall, Perry Lam shows he is a future talent to watch out for, and “After_Life” feels like the start of great things to come.