Meta Verse, written and directed by Sofia Ogneva, dives into a possibility of our future, where you can use virtual reality to control someone from the past. Vera (Lilia Gab) is given the most screen time, as she is forced into these different realities and doesn’t understand how she ends up there. Meanwhile, we hear Daniel (Gabriel Esparza, with voiceover by Timofei Mankov) telling the audience about how boring life is, and how virtual reality is his only escape. In the end, we find out that Daniel is controlling Vera via virtual reality, and that’s why her life is so perfect originally. Despite the interesting plot, the two characters never interact, even though Vera alludes to knowing Daniel in her voiceovers. Therefore, there isn’t a clear protagonist in the short film. It’s a unique idea, but unfortunately, it wasn’t executed in the way it needed to be for the idea to be impactful in telling the story.
Meta Verse has no active dialogue, and the only speech we hear comes from voiceovers. There are no scenes where characters talk to each other, which causes a lack of connection between audience and character relationships. Even in phone conversations, we only hear one side, and there are some awkward silences where text appears on screen, telling us what the other person on the phone is saying.
The film’s set is minimalist, but it does work for some of the scenes. Specifically, when Vera wakes up in Daniel’s apartment and talks about how boring it is and how she would never want to live there. The apartment is quite sparse, so it is fitting for that portion of the film. But, the same apartment is used as Vera’s apartment, which causes confusion for the audience as she talks about how she doesn’t like minimalism later on.
The strongest scenes are the ones in which Vera has a child – the chemistry between Vera and the child actor (uncredited) is strong, and we can believe that they are mother and son. When she’s reading to her son and a picture of her dog from another reality falls out, we can see the true confusion on Vera’s face, but also some form of recognition.
Overall, Meta Verse has good bones, but didn’t fully succeed in the idea from script to execution.