“Discontinued” is a smart and enjoyable sci-fi film that mixes elements of “The Matrix” with witty and sarcastic dialogue. The film follows Sarah, played by Ashley Hutchinson, a Millennial with a lot of anxiety about the future and what it holds. Sarah finds life rather pointless, but no, she is not suicidal.
One night, while watching TV, Sarah receives a bizarre broadcast that explains that everyone has been living in a Simulated Reality created by a society from the future and that their lives will be shut down in one week. Until that time, she must decide between staying in the world and fending for herself or reliving the five best moments of her life in a continuous loop. Until making that decision, she will also have an artificial intelligence robot-like guy as her Guide which no one else can see.
The film’s strengths lie in its unique and thought-provoking concept, which is executed with precision by first-time director Trevor Peckham.
With his background in cinematography, brings all his skills together for this remarkably adept film. Despite the science fiction components, the film is very much about people and feels personal to the director. The film draws viewers to emotional and intellectual places that they may not otherwise be comfortable going to without the humour.
Ashley Hutchinson delivers a remarkable performance as Sarah, capturing the character’s anger, sadness, and desperation to change things she has no control over. Her wise-cracking sarcasm adds humour to the film while also showcasing the character’s coping mechanism for her anxiety. Langston Fishburne, who looks very much like his father, Laurence (ironically from “The Matrix” movies), plays the artificial intelligence Guide, and he shows a various amount of talents and accents in the multiple roles he is supposed to play as the emissary from the future.
One of the film’s standout characters is Tucker (played by Michael Bonini), an obnoxious blind date Sarah was set up with by her friend. It is easy to hate Tucker, but the actor brings more dimension to the character, making him more than just a one-dimensional antagonist.
The film’s weaknesses lie in its pacing, which can be slow at times, and the lack of development of some of the side characters. The film also relies heavily on its concept, and while executed well, the concept may not appeal to all viewers. It doesn’t look and feel like a Sci-fi film and might be a turn-off for fans of that genre, particularly if that is the reason why they chose to see this film. But once you get into and you listen closely to the dialogue and get an understanding of the simulated reality it starts to feel more like sci-fi.
It takes more than just a casual watch to appreciate and understand the themes in this film. Within the first few minutes of watching, you might think it is just another teen movie. And when you lose focus on it, you might miss out on some key details that would help you understand all that is happening in subsequent scenes.
I would score this film 6.5/10. Its biggest strengths are the acting and its message.
It simply does great at reminding us that as much as we might sometimes hate this world that we live in, we have no choice but to love it and everyone else in it. Everyone needs someone and it sucks to be lonely.
In conclusion, “Discontinued” is a witty and thought-provoking sci-fi film that delivers a unique and enjoyable viewing experience. The film showcases strong performances from its lead actors, particularly Ashley Hutchinson, and is executed with precision by first-time director Trevor Peckham. While the film’s pacing can be slow at times, and the concept may not appeal to all viewers, the film’s strengths far outweigh its weaknesses, making it a must-see for sci-fi fans and anyone looking for a smart and enjoyable film.
“Discontinued” would be releasing VOD on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox, and Vudu in the following regions on the 2nd of May 2023.