Like Me or not….
One of the first movies I was fortunate to check out at the 2017 Indy Film Fest was an indie movie called Like Me. It is a 2017 release from first time director Robert Mockler. Like Me is a psychological thriller about going down the dark rabbit hole of social media stardom. The premise is nothing new but it definitely has relevance. Especially after the recent tragedy of the killer who posted his shootings on Facebook live.
A loner teen girl named Kyra decides to rob a convenience store at gunpoint, all while filming the whole thing for her social media feed. After she posts the video, it goes viral. Like a drug, she desires more of this stardom and maybe some human connection as well. She battles with these seemingly conflicted urges as she must decide whether to try to bond with someone or use them as a pawn for her increasingly twisted scenarios that she will film.
Like Me has some similarities to the 2016 tech thriller movie Nerve. Except Like Me has less order and more psychopathic chaos. You can tell director Robert Mockler has skill. The movie is just visually beautiful. It really is a treat to look at. The highlight colors are vivid with haunting visuals that has a similarly haunting soundtrack to match. I especially enjoyed some of the creepy animation that was intercut into some of the scenes.
That being said, the movie verges on the point of going overboard with the artistic flair. Sure, Like Me is pretty to look at, but the narrative has to match to put it over the top. This movie certainly has that potential. The opening is very intense and gets you hooked. Unfortunately, the rest of Like Me fails to live up to the intensity promised by its first act.
Before I get into that, let’s talk performances. You will get some really good performances here. Addison Timlin does a charismatic job portraying the demented teen, Kyra. Larry Fassender is terrific as the older paint huffing motel owner who gets caught up in Kyra’s twisted web of wtf-ness. If anything, these two certainly boost the overall value of this film.
However, Like Me sort of meanders around the middle. What starts off as Nerve becomes a little like the movie Hard Candy later on. Sure there are some intriguing and disturbing moments, but you wonder what the point is. Kyra, our anti-hero wants social media stardom but seems to lose focus after her first heist. She does get back into it though but only after a humorous segment with an elderly homeless man.
As mentioned before, this movie has potential to be great. But it becomes a little directionless after it starts. It seems like there is some social commentary at play here but it gets lost in the shuffle. The lack of back story and the mystery surrounding our main character works but also doesn’t. We don’t understand why she does what she does. Maybe that’s the point. Clearly, she has a conflicted sense of morality intercut with sadism. Kyra is also someone who doesn’t truly grasp the full scope of the darkness of this social media monster that she has decided to feed.
There are questions that arise when watching this. Like are Kyra’s YouTube video’s monetized? How come her cell phone never gets tracked by the authorities? What’s up with that ending? Is Kyra someone we are supposed to like or someone we should be disgusted with? To me the ambiguity is promising more than not.