‘The Generator’ is directed by Rudi Carpio and takes place in a not-too-distant future where virtual reality and medicine are integrated to simulate real-life experiences. For example, if you have difficulty with intimacy, you would strap yourself to these electric ‘pads’ that are connected to another room with another person in it. That person would then perform the functions you’re requesting without having to be there, but you would still experience the sensations as if they were.
The people in this other room were brought in at a young age, and raised to help simulate experiences for the patients, but when the head of the corporation pushes the boundaries of what is ethically possible, a dark and murderous turn forces the workers to fight, and possibly die to escape his grasp.
What I can start by saying with this film is that it’s very ambitious, and you can tell from the opening scene. The world building is somewhat a mess; it’s explained in very broad strokes without giving you enough to really understand what you’re watching.
There are plenty of things that you can delve into and think about with the film, but due to the lack of context, it’s hard to know what you’re actually looking at. The cinematography was quite appealing, and there are many visually appealing shots to look at. Appreciating that this is a low budget film, you can excuse the lower quality of the digital elements and set design. What’s inexcusable is the lack of character development and story that this film desperately needed.
The workers in this corporation are essentially all the same, aside from the main character, Max, who falls in love with the deceased founder’s daughter, Natalia. There are a couple of moments that work between them, but the story rushes through it and doesn’t give us time to know the characters. The performances for the most part are fine, but if you’re looking for depth, you won’t find it here. Supporting characters jump in and out of frame and don’t make much of an impression.
The biggest issue for me is in the storytelling. I’m all for not being spoon-fed every little detail in a film. I like piecing it together as the story unfolds; however, the director makes a bold movie in telling the story visually, but doesn’t execute it well enough for me to understand what’s happening. There’s an exception in one scene involving a patient experiencing this virtual reality for the first time that works very well, but other than that, it was tough to nail down exactly what the movie is. The dialogue also feels out of place and generic, like its coming from the script of a video game.
Overall, I think the director has potential with ‘The Generator.’ However, I would take this as a learning experience that you can have a great concept and visuals to match, but, in every film, the thing that will elevate it from being forgettable to iconic is well-developed characters, engaging storytelling, and a powerful throughline.