American Social, a parable about the dark intersection of modern romance and social media.
Attention is one hell of a drug. Before social media, we simply sought attention from our parents, our friends, and that cute person in 3rd period. Now, we’re after the eyes, minds, and clicks of as many people as humanly possible. The instant gratification and validation can be addicting, leading to uncharacteristic actions. Even those who initially scoffed at the idea of social media eventually fall to its allure once they get a little taste. The internet is a hell of a drug.
“Your followers can wait.”
Give your thumbs a break and go outside. Written, directed, and produced by Grammy-nominated producer Keeley Gould, American Social is a timely reflection of our unhealthy need for likes. Set in a world where every moment is potential content and everyone is their own brand, oh wait, that’s this one. Feeling as if it’s ripped directly from recent headlines, this is a story of tragic romance fusing with online addiction. Gould is not only able to capture a piece of the world we now live in, but how it directly affects those adjacent to it all.
Being an online personality is a slippery slope that usually begins with the attractiveness of the person. However, once “followers” aren’t entertained anymore, the personality has to get creative and often becomes an invasive part of the lives around them. Documenting every exciting, embarrassing, and intimate moment you have with a friend or loved one, with the world, can become taxing on the individual and annoying to everyone else. Reality becomes a glossy filtered stage play and quite often, it’s not as rosy as it appears to be. Unfortunately, it can lead to fractured relationships, a false sense of self, and sometimes death. This is where the short film shines. Instead of showing the lighthearted and glamorous side that we always witness, it gives us the grim and unfortunate side that needs to be seen. And honestly, I didn’t see it coming, which was a chilling yet pleasant surprise. The short is beautifully shot, well-written, and well-acted. I loved the overall tone that is both slice of life and ominous. Not to mention, the ending is wildly disturbing, making this a great conversation piece. We all play a role. I really enjoyed American Social. Its rewatchability is high.
Pacing & Pop
What popped for me was the cinematography and the subtle yet powerful storytelling. While this may be a short and pacing is something you may not think about, it’s done very well. With its twelve-minute runtime, the film is able to do everything to create great tension and a turn that is sinister and all too real.
Characters & Chemistry
Starring: Izabel Pakzad, Michael Ford, Nate Washburn, Daniel Danielson
Izabel Pakzad and Michael Ford did amazing. In a short time, they are able to resemble a real couple with real issues. As Skylar, Pakzad is a perfect representation of what we see more and more on a daily basis. And Ford as Jake is what many will claim to relate to but are more Skylar than they’d like to admit. What makes the characters really interesting is that the vast majority of us are a bit of both. Any of us could easily teeter more to one side depending on our experience. That is except for the more grim side.
American Social is now available on Vimeo. Stay safe and enjoy.
Director: Keeley Gould
Writers: Keeley Gould, Jess Caesar, Dave Croatto
Producer: Keeley Gould
Director of Photography: Matt Batchelor
Editor: Adam Dicterow
Rating: 4 out 0f 5
Senior Critic. Observing the human race since 1988.