Who today doesn’t want to be part of something? Who doesn’t want to resonate today? After all, it’s no wonder that there are so many experts on various things sprouting up quickly. “Have you never wanted to be noticed, for whatever reason?”, is what Danni (Zoey Deutch) asks in a voice Off while we are urged to understand why it was canceled… quite tempting. Thinking about networks and what the theorist Marshall McLuhan said about the media as an extension of man’s senses, points out how, on the Internet, we experience constant changes in the way it branches out. In this case, the Internet is an environment, a medium, linked to technological innovations, extensions that we create, divided between the different platforms with which man interacts. For example, it’s a package that involves many senses when we pick up a smartphone, slide our finger across the screen, listen and watch a video at the same time; and this is magnified when we use a headset, because it makes the perception and immersion deeper than the sound through the speaker.
On the other hand, there is the interaction of social networks: comments, shares, emojis, likes and followers. These are one of the main aspects that surround the parameters of engagement in the web and they reverberate to the social, physical and psychological impacts imprinted on the virtual environment, because, whatever the “means”, it connects to how we relate to each other, being an expansion of it. As technology evolves, so too does our conditioned habits. If we stop to think about it, these are reactions that have been gaining new meanings given the degree of interrelationship between user and platform, always accompanied by the feeling of anxiety about the posting and its performance. The simple act of posting a status on Facebook about the mood level, where they would go, the dish of the day and the book they are reading, for some, it would just be communicating, informing what is being done, for others, it entailed validation, attention and reach compared to the number of friends accumulated in the profile.
In this era of influencers digital, people with the ability to influence others through the production of content and opinion that they share on their profiles, the image editor of an online magazine, Danni, is also an aspiring writer wanting to verbalize contemporary anxieties. In this excerpt, we can already see that in the midst of her problematic personality, the young adult has a desire to produce based on the posts of the influencers that accompanies, speaking of its futility as if they were big questions, the typical archetype of the white people problems. So, in this stagnant phase of her life, where she feels frustrated for not publishing the controversial articles and for not dating the boy stoner who is a junkie, Colin (Dylan O’Brien), Danni discovers a way to engage on social media with her fake trip to Paris, until a terrorist attack affects the city, but nothing easier than now being a celebrity as a victim. survivor.
Making a satire of the emptiness arising from the lifestyle imposed by the networks, Quinn Shephard very well concentrates this representation in the figure of Danni, placing her as a sponge that absorbs online parameters and at all costs wants to be part of the media that influences. Although it comes as a reminder and a sense of guilt for the lie created, the man in the hood and black mask works as an allegory for the personalities we virtually assume and the false engagement that this promotes. This feature refers to the man suspected of having carried out the attack on the City of Light, used in Danni’s dramatic account of survival after he saw an image on the news portals. Thus, this hidden-faced figure personifies the behavior millennial to quickly adhere to what has been a trend. Instantly, a band member dies and a social media profile erupts with his motivational story of what a fan he is. Danni couldn’t talk about what it’s like to be a survivor of an attack because she was never a victim, and what she does is precisely use virtual language to move a discourse fostered by introspection that makes people “reach” a version so reflective that they would be sincere about themselves.
From a simple, troubled and detested publisher, now everyone dies of admiration for the one who is a survivor and popularized some hashtags. So, the agenda that addressed a tragedy now deals with what is said about tragedy, by the alleged victim who engaged a movement that makes others influencers and random profiles engage with their stories, which makes you think that it would be a matter of time before someone else resonates with a new line on top of what Danni said, or another tragedy is just a stage for people to talk about themselves, do their self-promotion . It’s a cycle. And skillfully, Shephard provokes the audience by transiting over the behaviors that circumvent social networks such as Instagram, TikTok and Twitter, both for those who produce and for those who react to the content.
However, even though his focus is to study users and the digital field, Shephard gets lost in the use of tools that enhance his approach. An example is the opening scene that looks like a documentary in believably synthesizing cancel culture, but this tone is forgotten in the premise that relies on the formula of romantic comedies to make its satire. It’s as if Danni is the unresolved young adult who does everything to be noticed by those she’s in love with and in the end discovers true love, but there’s an irony in that, as Danni is sold as a troubled white protagonist who is still waiting for “remission”. Did she screw up and deserve a second chance as someone who recognizes that taking advantage of a tragedy was extreme or was she a victim of the dilemmas of networks, the algorithmic system that affects mental health? Danni feels numb all the time, in a state where she never knows how she really is, and the false commitment to her reputation as a survivor hasn’t changed that feeling at all, after wanting so much to be someone she influences.
Unlike meeting true love, Danni meets someone who has actually been the victim of an attack, and that creates a shock for her lie, thanks to Rowan – between us, it was thanks to Mia Isaac’s potent performance. But despite using the formula to question whether Danni is a victim (which recalls the studies here pointing out the problematizations related to the feature of visualizing the number of likes on Instagram) or a bitch, it is also because of resorting to this narrative model that the Lie Influencer loses strength when it could involve, for example, the topic of exposed and enrich that satire. The feeling is that Shephard has a good point that is likely to grow in future projects, but this won’t be the memorable satire on network dilemmas.
Lie Influencer (Not Okay – USA, 2022)
Direction: Quinn Shephard
Road map: Quinn Shephard
Cast: Zoey Deutch, Mia Isaac, Nadia Alexander, Negin Farsad, Embeth Davidtz, Dylan O’Brien
Duration: 100 min.