(Note: Although this is listed as a series of ten mini-episodes, its currently only available as a single half-hour online film. I would never have guessed it was edited together from such tiny pieces, perhaps the director originally planned it as a single whole?)
Although a lot of the Proxy is made up of generic sci-fi components, especially The Matrix and Blade Runner, its format appears to be something original: a drama written and shot entirely with YouTube in mind. This script wouldn't work on TV because the context would be wrong: The Proxy depends on the viewer watching one kind of video in exactly the same way they might watch another kind.
The introductory scene looks absolutely identical to a typical YouTube video blog, but that's because the film is on YouTube and features a real life well-known video blogger. After a minute or so of completely convincing reviewing action, it unexpectedly takes a rather disturbing turn. Ashens suddenly swept into a serious drama on his home turf. Really weird.
Just to make that a bit clearer: Imagine if you were watching Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman, and he began a totally believable report on some political shenanigans, and it then suddenly morphed into a fictional action film... starring Jeremy Paxman playing himself. How strange would that be?
Putting aside the mind-bending cameo-that-isn't-a-cameo, the Proxy is a slightly campy but generally seriously-played sci-fi thriller. The cinematography's pretty good (excellent in fact by YouTube standards), the effects are too, and although the plot seems impenetrable it does start to make some sense on a second viewing. The acting is variable, some of it is solid and some isn't, but there's enough pace and humour to keep it all going.
Whether this finds an audience is another question, it's very early days for original dramas online and no one has yet proved it can be done commercially without a subscription. However, it's good to see people trying new things. If there's one thing that's become very clear on internet videos, it's that no one has any idea what will be the next hit.
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