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Imaginative and intriguing, “Share?” is a sci-fi thriller that kept me on the hook, stayed with me after viewing, and made me eager to share.

Share

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Share? is a lean, stripped-down, highly intriguing sci-fi mystery that works equally well as a savvy social parable about the dark side of the virtual community where many of us spend so much of our time.

Directed and written by Ira Rosenweig and co-written by Benjamin Sutor, it’s marketed as the first feature film to be shot entirely from one fixed camera angle. That’s the gimmick, and it’s an effective one — a fascinating and clever way to tell an engrossing story with limited resources.

Fortunately, however, Share? is much more than a gimmick.

It boasts a small but strong cast and some wickedly smart, often darkly funny, writing that makes viewers quickly forget how little is actually happening while becoming fully invested in what will eventually happen.

It begins with a man (Melvin Gregg; The Way Back, The Blackening) waking up in a small, sterile, steel-enforced room with no windows or furniture. He’s lying face down on the cold concrete floor in nothing but his underwear, looking around his industrial jail cell for clues as to where he is or why he is there.

Surprisingly unbothered, given the horror of his situation, he notices a computer with a retro DOS-like interface where he can input simple commands.

The computer regularly asks him if he wants to share, but he doesn’t understand what that means, at least not at first.

He works out that if he performs silly little acts like farting or doing flips and falling on the hard floor, it pleases the computer — or whoever is behind it — and he is rewarded with tokens he can exchange for necessities like food and water, as well as luxuries like clothes and a cot to sleep on.

Soon, he earns a reward that allows him to view the rooms of hundreds of other captives.

With the help of his new neurotic, pontificating virtual roommate (the brilliant Bradley Whitford; Cabin in the Woods, Get Out), he develops a charming persona and builds a loyal following who tune in every day to watch his content and reward his efforts with more tokens.

Flipping through the channels of the primitive online community, he finds a beautiful woman (Danielle Campbell; The Originals) he becomes enamored with. He regularly tips her tokens in appreciation for her videos of breathing exercises and positive affirmations.

After some time, another player joins the mix, a vibrant and headstrong woman (Alice Braga; I Am Legend, Predators, The Suicide Squad 2021) who convinces our “hero” to leverage his popularity to unite the masses and take down the system.

He’s eager at first, but he begins to have doubts, considering his life before captivity when he was nothing to no one.

His resolve further weakens when he gets yet another virtual companion in the form of the beautiful woman he’s long admired. She convinces him that spreading light and positivity is more helpful than fear and anger.

And that’s when Share? starts to tap into something that comes damn close to hitting the proverbial nail on the head. 

We shape our identities around the personas we build online.

As Whitford’s insufferable but insightful character points out, we trade love for “likes” — or real human connection for the validation we get (or seek) from strangers online.

We seek content that confirms our biases or helps us escape the horrors we can’t or don’t want to confront. As Braga’s character points out, “distraction is more powerful than suppression.” We willingly stay distracted with pseudo-self-care and mindless entertainment because it’s easier than facing the truth.

We tell ourselves it’s ok to be happy and feel good while the world burns. We ensconce ourselves in camps — us versus them — and tear each other apart rather than addressing the real source of our suffering.

In a world where most relationships are transactional and the only reality that matters is the one we craft for ourselves — to quiet the demons, quell our insecurities, and inoculate ourselves from the unbearable weight of the world — Share? feels less like speculative science fiction and more like painfully relevant social commentary.

The ending packs quite a punch and makes the brief but satisfying journey worth the investment.

Share? is both narratively satisfying and deeply thought-provoking for its implications regarding human nature and the nature of the social construct we’ve built and willingly participate in.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 4

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