Sunday, April 10, 2011

Candidate # 16


(May 2010)

Being a Hideo Nakata fan, having missed Kaidan and having been rather disappointed by Death Note: L Change the World, I waited for Chatroom with relish, and I’m glad it turned out to be a disturbing picture of how today’s technology, ostensibly bringing all of us together in one global digital village, can still be the avenue by which manipulation and deception can harm the unwary.
Written by Enda Walsh (based on his play of the same name), Chatroom follows five youths trying to make meaningful emotional connections in their own ways and how that simple urge to be a part of something bigger than one’s self can potentially be a dangerous, and possibly fatal thing.
Chatroom’s got some fine performances from Kick-Ass himself, Aaron Johnson (also impressive as a young, pre-Beatles John Lennon in Nowhere Boy), and 28 Weeks Later’s Imogen Poots. Matthew Beard (Chatroom is my first exposure to his work) also proves to be a promising name to keep tabs on in the future.

Chatroom doesn’t give any easy answers to the only-too-real possibilities it raises. The truth is, the young, the angry, and the misunderstood have always sought comfort from each other, closing their ranks to adults, shutting themselves off from the world they’re meant to be a part of. And lies and manipulation happen everyday in the real world. The ‘net simply makes things easier for the unscrupulous, because of that filter afforded by physical distance, by the interaction through keystrokes. It’s so much easier to escape the consequences of our actions, of an unthinkingly dropped word here, a callous comment there.

This is the everyday horror of the Internet Age. The interesting thing about Chatroom though, is, it’s not so much about the dangers of the Internet, but about the dangers of parents’ inability to effectively communicate with their children; it’s about the dangers of children acting out in ways their parents are ignorant and oblivious to.

At the very least, Chatroom is a film that should open up discussion, not just between peers, but more importantly, between parents and children. Perhaps, it’s not really cyberspace that needs to be watched over, but our own personal circles of friends and family.

(Chatroom OS courtesy of

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