Cast: Joe Sowerbutts, Haruka Abe, Richard Durden
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Director: Tobias Weber
What’s it about
A regular late night shift for young parking attendant Matt (Joe Sowerbutts) in London, turns out to be the most adventurous and precarious nights of his life. This after he gets inadvertently embroiled in an armed robbery. But the biggest twist here is that you can decide his fate.
We live in a world of interactivity and engagement. So it was only a matter of time before the movies became interactive too. Late Shift (a Full-Motion Video Game or FMV), now screening across theatres in the UAE, is a one-of-its-kind experimental film that shifts the control of the narrative in the hands of its audience. The choices will appear on the App called CTRLMOVIE that you have to download on your smartphone, before the screening starts.
As protagonist Matt Thompson lives his life-altering predicament onscreen, trying to save himself and his chance lady friend May-Ling (Haruka Abe), it’s we who get to decide their fate. It’s exciting to say the least to be making spot decisions within seconds, 4 to be precise, some 180 times throughout the film, taking control of what happens next. Of course, you’ll have to be fully attentive and immersed in the experience and at times it’s hard to keep up with the breakneck speed at which the choices are thrown at you. It’s a good and a bad thing, but it’s surely exciting. While there is no way of telling what the majority audience selects and you just have to contend with the hits and the misses of your choices, as the screenplay moves on seamlessly without a glitch.
That said, the overall execution of the film’s plot isn’t all that convincing or thrilling as a heist movie should be. Here, co-writer and director Tobias Weber gives us a vulnerable protagonist but the writing isn’t so power-packed that can keep you on the edge of your seat, always. Surely, the task of making quick choices does have its perks but the execution remains quite underwhelming, throughout. The actors do a decent job of playing their parts but the bulk of the heavy-lifting is entrusted to Joe Sowerbutts, who sure looks like a kid in the wrong place at the wrong time.
On the whole, as an experience, ‘Late Shift’ is totally novel and empowers you to be in control. Especially, at a time when remote working and living are a norm, this film gives the remote control of its story in your hands. The choice is yours.