The idyllic existence of Fairview advertising executive Michael Muhney is upset by bad dreams and disturbing visions. He's unknowingly experiencing a reality-check in a bracing post-apocalyptic Matrix riff from Australia (which explains the unfamiliar cast). A faceless corporation called Arora has wallpapered-over the real world with pacifying signals sent direct to the brain: this is a world where you can buy a new car every day at 1950s prices and your unflaggingly cheerful parents talk in reassuring platitudes, a place where Kurt Cobain sings children's songs and Marilyn Monroe makes movies with Leonardo DiCaprio. Mixing paint-box colours with grimy black-and-white, director Michael Pattinson conjures up a delusional universe that repels and attracts in equal measure. This curious picture lifts good ideas from impeccable sources: the too-perfect nostalgic small-town setting of Pleasantville, the sealed perimeters of The Thirteenth Floor, the out-of-wack office of The Truman Show, the on-screen catalogue tags of Fight Club, the paintings of Rene Magritte. Even though it's consistently engaging, like so many Outer Limits-style tales, the more it's explained, the less interesting it becomes. This could be because the dialogue sounds as though it's been lifted wholesale from comic-book speech-bubbles. Even so, the conflicting ideas gnaw: Socrates' assertion that the unexamined life is not worth living is all very well, but would we want to know the truth if the truth is unbearable?
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