The Complex review – frustrating interactive sci-fi thriller | Film

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This zeitgeist-y interactive science fiction drama posits a timely premise hingeing on isolation. On the London tube, Clare (streaming celebrity Leah Viathan) is infected with a nanotechnology in development. Consequently, she must spend the rest of the movie in a coffin-shaped chamber within a vacuum-sealed laboratory, while Amy (Michelle Mylett) and Rees (Al Weaver), a pair of bickering, frequently irritating doctors – and ex-lovers – try to work out how to save her.

Or not. Because some of the options this game offers take the player down paths with dire consequences for poor Clare, and some don’t work out so well for Amy or Rees. As different choices are made, the game scores the user on various personality dimensions – openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism – as if this were some kind of nightmarish version of Myers Briggs testing or Enneagrams.

Ultimately, there are just eight outcomes, and although I didn’t manage to play through all of them I’m guessing none them end with Clare, Amy and Rees just going out for a curry and late-night karaoke.

That’s the thing about most interactive games: they pretend to illustrate how free will creates a multitude of paths but ultimately they’re pretty deterministic and not especially revealing about human nature. Black Mirror’s version of this concept, Bandersnatch, was a lot more interesting as a piece of writing, but clearly The Complex is targeted at a less cerebral, more laddish sort of audience. For instance, it looked to me as if the film was reluctant to pass up any opportunity to ogle Mylett in her bra.

For the most part, the acting is pretty dismal, as if the cast were exhausted by the number of takes they had to make for each branch path of action. Nevertheless, the always welcome Kate Dickie pops up as the tech company’s CEO and gets to sport a particularly amusing pair of tartan pants – the kind of clothes you dig out of the closet when you have been in isolation for too long.

The Complex is available on Steam.

Source: The Guardian
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