Writer: Mark Leidner (Screenplay)
Starring: Zack Robidas, Kathy Searle, Jay Klaitz, Eric Berryman, AJ Cedeno, Charmain Reedy, Fenton Lawless
Plot: An investor in a VR startup discovers that the reality the company provides isn’t virtual.
Tagline – WARNING: Being someone else may result in dizziness, nausea, flashbacks, hallucinations, and permanent loss of self. Enjoy responsibly.
Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Black Mirror Level Sci-Fi Film
Story: Empathy, Inc starts as Joel (Robidas) finds himself exposed as the person behind a stock market scam, which sees him needing to live with his in-laws, he gets approached by Nicolaus (Berryman) who offers him a chance to invest in a VR start up idea known as XVR (Extreme Virtual Reality), like any businessman, he wants to see how the operations runs, before taking any money off anybody.
Thoughts on Empathy, Inc
Characters – Joel was one of the top stockbrokers in his company until it turns out that he has been made the scapegoat for a deal which lost people millions, Joel needs to get back on his feet, build his client base once again, which sees him taking advantages of a new VR system that has come his way. He thinks this will put his life back together, though it soon only makes things more complicated, as he must learn the truth. Jessica is the wife of Joel, she has supported him through the struggles, while trying to make a name for herself as an actress, she does make the most logic when Joel learns the truth. Lester is the mastermind that has created the technology, he is somebody that is happy to be isolated from the main world. Nicolaus is the old friend to Joel that offers him a chance to invest in the company, he has a reputation for questionable deals, but Joel has no choice. He knows how to sweet talk a deal through, which makes him the man bringing the project money.
Performances – Zack Robidas is great in this leading role, he does show us just how his characters life can come crashing down around him, while trying to figure out make up for his mistakes. Outside of Zack, nobody gets that much time to shine, with Kathy Searle and Jay Klaitz doing everything you imagine their characters need to, without being challenged, while Eric Berryman is as smooth as he needs to be throughout the film.
Story – The story here follows an investor that loses his job and needs to rebuild his career, which sees him taking a chance on a new start up whose idea isn’t as sweet as he thought it would be. The story does show how one man must rebuild his reputation, this is all we need and everything that works in the story, where this story gets even more interesting, comes from the idea that a VR system could be created to do what this one does, XVR, this idea in the story is what will make this standout on new levels, because it does pose the ideas of what people would do with this technology. A story that makes you think, is what sci-fi is truly about, this could also easily be a welcome addition to the Black Mirror world.
Sci-Fi – The sci-fi elements in the film do make you feel like you are watching an episode of Black Mirror, it is a concept that turns what seems like a smart idea, that takes a dark turn when the truth comes out, one that makes you think what would you do in this situation.
Settings – The film does keep the settings looking like a start up business, which is all we need, we don’t need to see anything more or anything over the top either, the settings are handled perfectly for the tone of the film.
Special Effects – The effects like the settings, don’t need to be anything more than we get, most are very simple, we don’t need anything fancy for this film though.
Scene of the Movie – The second visit on the machine.
Final Thoughts – This is a sci-fi film with a concept that stands out, it will ask the audience a question and will keep you wondering just how far the people will go in the name of science.
Overall: Sci-Fi seriously good.