The technology presented in Hollis Sherman-Pepe’s Twenty Minute Exotic Getaway is probably not far off. The virtual reality has achieved a standing where people can put on a visor and feel like they are anywhere in the world. In accordance, the ease of access for the 20 minute excursion is a daily ritual that has become second nature. It should sound familiar since social media is already allowing us to live much of our lives on our couches. The timeliness is unmistakable, and in our current state, the sci-fi film gives us a look at a future we could be heading towards.
From news reports in the opening of the 26 minute short film, we are led to believe that the world has become a much more dangerous place. Crime, poverty, germ warfare and terrorism – it seems better to capitulate and stay home. So to the rescue, an ad for a Twenty Minute Exotic Getaway lets us in on the best avenue for escape, and the ever-present sound of police sirens and local chaos, emphasize the necessity.
Thus, we meet Devon (Sherman-Pepe) and realize how far the misdirection has come. “I find that if I just think of a feeling, the AI takes me right where I need to be,” the actress’ contented delivery says that Devon has got escape down to a science.
Lola at the controls for the company fully concurs. But the way Petra Sprecher affirms this common place, makes the virtual reality service seem as normal as going to the dentist. Nonetheless, Devon lands in a blissful sea of yellow flowers and flowing green grass. The breeze traversing the bucolic setting, she is the mother of a natural world of her own creation.
More importantly, the cinematic presentation by Gabriel Gely sets a tone appropriate for the science fiction. As the fauna gyrates and the clouds meander in at stop-motion speed, Devon appears to have been superimposed into a fantasy that would even have our imaginations falling short.
So what’s the harm – and wait until you get a hold of the sex. In the thick of it, Devon and Lucas (Quincy Chad) hook in, and the visors engaged to a fantasy figure of their liking, the pleasures are more than satisfactory.
Of course, both actors are very pleasing to the eye, and Chad gives us the understanding boyfriend women want and men aspire to be. Ok, so maybe there is something wrong.
Devon confirms when she gets a look at Lucas’ version of the fantasy sex partner, and the disconnect obviously gets us thinking. What will happen to the human race when perfection becomes so accessible that we end up losing the chance for real intimacy? This, especially, when real life only reaches its pinnacle at the point of accepting each other’s flaws.
Not yet a philosophical query on Devon’s plate, she continues to immerse herself. Another serene natural setting is ushered in off Gely’s good work, and doubling down, the next romantic interlude makes it impossible for Devon, or anyone else, to recognize this societal addiction.
Piling on, the Aaron Drake score signals the far reaching desolation and the futility for change. However, Devon is eventually put in the position to question what she sees, and as the character explores, the cryptic search through the omnipotent AI builds her to a crescendo. We get pulled along too – and can’t help considering our own fate.
So Devon reaching a crossroad, and the story ticking down, we are in serious anticipation of an epiphany. Thus, Devon puts the right words to the conundrum, and we come away with a pretty good warning.
Now shut your computer off and go for a walk, because if it can work for Devon, it can work for you.