Matt Spicer/ USA/ 2017/ 98 mins
At Cameo Cinema from Fri 17 Nov 2017
The false trap of social media and the #fomo this creates is a well-worn topic. We’ve all heard about the student who successfully faked a trip to Asia. We’ve all worried about the disturbing relevance of Black Mirror, and the glut of world wide web horror films such as Friend Request (2016), Unfriended (2014) and Ratter (2016) are difficult to miss.
Ingrid Goes West joins the ranks with a comically dark critique of Instagram in the context of armed kidnap, suicide, grief and mental illness. The combination of tragedy, parody and violence remains on a human level rather than venturing into the supernatural, and makes the film a bit more interesting than a mere reincarnation of older critiques of social media.
For example, the inclusion of Ingrid’s personal trauma gives us more of an insight into the reason behind her obsession with replanting her own life into Taylor’s #perfect insta-dream. Rather than portraying her as someone driven mad by filtered photos alone, this intimate angle shows how being bombarded by curated collages of other lives combine with other problems in her own life to drive her into depression.
However, the film is guilty of the filtering it attacks. With a knock out cast of Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen and O’Shea Jackson Jr., everyone in it is drop dead gorgeous, impossibly toned, rich (even if this is through sad circumstances) and have the enviable jobs of an insta-influencer, a struggling yet somehow minted artist and an unsuccessful screen writer who still manages to own more than one property in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Although the close up shots of Ingrid’s ant-infested squalor counteract this to some extent, overall, as a film that criticises the projection of perfection, it is hypocritically stylised.
So while Ingrid Goes West does show the falsity and damage caused by social media while also managing to be mildly funny, it doesn’t do enough to fight this in its own form. #nofilter.