(Short) Film Review: The Anti-Social Network (PG) (Australia, 2013)

Sydney film-maker Shae-Lee Shackleford has put together a short film called The Anti-Social Network which pokes a bit of fun but also manages to highlight a growing trend in social media addiction and its impact on people’s lives.

Our story follows Lucas whose life is consumed by Facebook, played by Sam Mcmillan. From waking in the morning with his phone beside his pillow, to looking at meme pictures on people’s profiles whilst at work, and fake checking in to nearby bars so his mates will arrange a night out. After meeting Leila (Shackleford) they go out on an extremely awkward date involving Lucas repeatedly taking photos of food and trying to come to grips with the fact that Leila doesn’t have a Facebook. It all gets a little hairy when Lucas’ incessant urge to document his experiences to the cyber world get too much and Leila calls things off. I don’t want to ruin the ending, it’s too sweet and endearing for a spoiler but it’s handled with a dash of rom-com humour the likes we find coming out of Hollywood.

For a short film we’re delivered the goods in sharp metered bursts. An introduction to our main man with an insight into his barely functioning real world life; stemming from his over-bearing need to be in the cyber realm. Either we ourselves are the addicts, or we know somebody who is, the story and characters are relatable and this has been done with a gentle witty touch from Shackleford. The added graphics that pop up replicating Facebook emoticons and posts also add to the humour as well as being a clever way of integrating the film into a cyber-fashion.

Our two leads, Shackleford as Leila and Mcmillan as Lucas, are pretty spot-on with their characters. Coincidentally Mcmillan is a self-confessed Twitter addict so Lucas wasn’t too far a stretch for him while Shackleford’s Leila exudes a beautiful self-assurance that makes her inspiring as a character. We’re also treated to a great soundtrack courtesy of some Australian talent including Art Vs Science, Flight Facilities and Justice Crew. At a smidgen over 15 minutes long this is a great little film that examines a serious topic in a comic way without being preachy or falling too far into parody.

Review Score: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Check out The Anti-Social Network on YouTube.