Why Watch? An excellent example of art imitating online life, this short film from Patrick Cederberg and Walter Woodman hits a narrative sweet spot without ever leaving a teenager’s computer screen. Romance, jealousy, lust, joy, boredom and random Chatroulette dongs are all channeled through the two-dimensional space.
Noah (Sam Kantor) blithely jumps between browser tabs, music and Skype while his girlfriend Amy (Caitlin McConkey-Pirie) intimates that she wants to break up before college does it for them. His paranoia leads him down a rabbit hole even as his multi-tasking A.D.D. keeps him humming around familiar internet haunts.
Put together with crisp, frantic precision, what works best here is the disconnection. We mostly get to see Noah’s reactions through how fast his mouse flies, which creates a fantastic sense that the high drama playing out doesn’t really matter even as hovering over the “Send” button makes us cringe. It helps that Noah seems generally uninterested (first and foremost in his girlfriend), but the constant clicking also offers up a lot of chances for jokes and fist-clenchers in the nooks and crannies of the larger story.
Plus, the behavior is on point at any age. The habitual refreshing, the playlist swapping, the threat of doing something stupid in the public forum of Facebook. All of it swiftly adds up to a lesson about miscommunication that seems perfect for all of us who talk in little boxes. Make it full screen for an even more jarring experience.
What Will It Cost? About 17 minutes