Like Me (2018) Review and Explanation
Quick Film Info
Director/Writer/Producer/Editor: Robert Mockler.
He didn't do it alone in all aspects. There are also co-stars who also produced and edited. This is Mockler's début feature film.
Release: Screened at South by Southwest Film Festival in 2017 before VOD January 2018.
Starring: Larry Fessenden (Carnage Park, 2016) and We Are Still Here, 2015), Addison Timlin (Odd Thomas, 2013).
Genre: Crime led drama.
Fun Fact: Brian Mockler is not on any social media platform, citing it as "contemptible."
What's It About?
Kiya (Addison Timlin) has a YouTube Chanel. She posts all kinds of random things on there. A planned and filmed armed robbery sparks a viral response.
Is internet fame what drives her or is she looking for something more?
How Was It?
In a world where everything revolves around the internet, '' is a unique spin on one person's telescopic viewpoint of it. We get to see the repercussions of just how things can go wrong without knowing why they did. It's easy to imagine, after watching this film, people all around the world doing and being things they aren't to 'make it' online. That's where the hook is for this. Like Me
Gifs and psychedelic images of food and technology get used continuously to describe Kiya's emotions. The pastel and neon colors combined with artistic backdrops give this film a point of difference. They are somewhat reminiscent of the dreaminess of Neon Demon (2016). Color palettes used throughout reflect "Kiya's inner head space."
Mockler (the director) is said to be inspired by films like One Hour Photo (2002) and Taxi Driver (1976) and there is definitely the essence of both those films here. The seediness of the characters she meets against Kiya's supposed innocence forces you to decide who is good and who is bad but keeps you guessing all the time.
In society, many people are drawn to the idea of outlaws being cool. Kiya as a character sums up the exploration of that obsession. In the beginning, her followers are in awe of the guts it must take to rob a convenience store, on camera, for laughs. Interspersed are many moments to make you believe or interpret Kiya as the victim though.
When not online, the people Kiya interacts with seem uninterested in her. I loved this idea. I think the film's description of online personas versus real-life, was on point. It highlights the difference between fans, followers, keyboard warriors, extroverts, and trolls. Anyone can fall prey to online influence.
In one scene Kiya meets a homeless man and buys him food in exchange for his company and a story. Surprisingly he's not interested in the type of connection she wants despite looking like the epitome of loneliness. He escapes at the first opportunity. From there Kiya decides to up the ante of her crime spree and instigates a snowball of decisions.
Kiya's background being ambiguous and unknown is as frustrating as it is compelling. The story manages to weave a massive mash-up of every single objection, opinion or appreciation of social media you can have.
Overall I connected to this film more as each piece and character a portrait of someone trying to connect with someone else in a way that suited their own morals and ulterior motives. Like Me is dark and feisty and never quite goes where you expect it to land. I liked it a lot
I give Like Me 3.5 force-fed gummy bears out of 5.
Explanation— Spoilers Included Here
The writer and director Barry Mockler used Requiem For a Dream (2000) as his inspiration for this very inward facing movie. In both films, there is what seems to be only one central character and a bunch of background people.
In reality, both films are driven by very explainable characters no matter how minor they may seem. Both films are like watching a magic show. If you pay too much attention to the magicians hands, you miss clues that it wasn't magic at all.
- Her unanswered phone calls are a clue to Kiya's background.
- She is obsessed with having Marshall admit or explain why he would sleep with someone so young. His responses make her angry but more determined to label him the way she thinks he is.
- I think she is indeed the outlaw and less the lunatic. What I want to know is, is this attributed to nature or nurture?
- Kiya knew exactly the right spot to make someone vomit after force-feeding them, the drugs to keep him lucid but not asleep. More planning required for this.
- Throughout every clear rejection, she simply moves on to the next object. Her interactions seem, to me, a point of investigation for her. The rejection as a reason to orchestrate a new plan on a new victim to answer her questions.
Freddie the shop keeper
- Freddie is one example where it’s not about the connection. It’s simply about her being able to elicit a response. This is why I think she isn't this poor creature looking for a friend. Rather I think she is the spider, playing on other people's desire to have one.
- I found all of her encounters meticulously planned. The shop owner did not have a weapon. Had she seen him react to a similar instance before? Everything seems to be organisational rather than spontaneous and I think many people missed this
- In a sea of positive comments, his is the voice of objection or approval. His comments are hollow and aimed only at obtaining a reaction just like her. He is the quintessential troll.
- He looks like he may live with his mom and has a white picket fence adorned with nick-knacks.
- The ultimate betrayal saved for him. He feels as though he has connected with Kiya. I became as shocked as he was that they weren't on the same page. His shock encased in her smile before she swiftly yanked the rug out.
The Homeless Man
Question: "what animal would you like to be?"
"I'd like to be a big fish in the water. A big creature."
Summed up: Beaten down by life, wouldn't we all like to be the big fish instead of the little fish?
Marshall eventually escapes after becoming more and more interested in her pet rat, than her. Marshall is the only anomaly in her quest. He is the Achilles heel. The only real clue into her personality and the only one who uses her as much as she uses him.
For me the rat is utilised to allow Marshall to gain insight into Kiya. She maintains she didn't name it because it doesn't need one. It's not important. This comes completely undone when the rat escapes.
Mockler explained that pets are a form of inter-species hostage situations. It becomes a precursor to Marshall’s escape.
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