Review: “Emotional Motor Unit”

 

 
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Direction
8.0


 
Acting
7.0


 
Plot
7.0


 
Execution
8.0


 
Total Score
7.5


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Posted November 25, 2016 by

 
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I am always impresses at the ability, of well-made short films, to say something powerful in a small time frame. Director Adam Nelson (“Little Pieces”), with help from writer Xènia Puiggrós, accomplishes just that, in the new sci-fi short “Emotional Motor Unit”. The film is set in a future in which most basic, human rights have seemingly been abolished and replaced with emotion-suppressing drugs and an extreme focus, by an organization called “The Company”, on work and productivity.

A lonely, middle-aged man (Graham Cawte), who works for “The Company” as a non-fiction writer, learns he is to be promoted to writing fiction. To aid him in his first assignment he is given a human-like, AI unit (Francesca Burgoyne) called “E.M.U.” or “Emotional motor unit”. The idea is that he will stop taking mood-suppressors, and for the first time experience emotional, human contact. In turn, the experience will supply him with material for his first work of fiction.

emu-mainThe idea of a future where emotions are only allowed when it serves the interests of an all-powerful corporation is a very interesting premise. One that is helped by a wonderful performance from Cawte, and the creation of a white-washed, almost clinical environment where everything looks sterile but the air is toxic. The score from Imraan Husain is also a powerful element in the film. It’s ethereal vibe, mixed with some beautiful cinematography by Dagmar Scheibenreif, are calming almost to the point of sedation, much like the drugs used to eliminate feeling.

“Emotional Motor Unit” is one of many sci-fi, tech-fueled shorts I have seen. It also is one of the better ones. It actually felt a lot like an episode of “Black Mirror”, which is extremely high praise coming from someone who is mildly obsessed with that show. What Adam Nelson and crew accomplished, in a matter of 22 minutes, is damn impressive. I recommend checking it out, and also giving Nelson’s “Little Pieces” a look as he is a talented director to watch for in the future.


MikeD

 


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