If you’ve ever feared a Reddit post coming to life and whispering its no-doubt super-edgy edgelord nonsense in your ear, those nightmares have now come true with the new “documentary,” A Glitch in the Matrix.
One of the more questionable entries at this year's Sundance film fest, The Nightmare director Rodney Ascher's newest lingers in a gray zone between comedy and true crime. It would almost be impressively self-assured in its boldness but, in actuality, it's the film equivalent of the dude who crowds you at a bar to rant incessantly about his internet search history, or your stoner buddy asking you if you've ever contemplated the cosmos, man?!
Glitch asks the existential question of our reality: Are we living in a simulation, a la The Matrix? Setting aside how absurd it is to base a so-called documentary on a film that we now know is about coming to grips with being trans, the people interviewed in the film say their anecdotal experiences are proof computer algorithms set our day-to-day lives. Ascher doesn't clarify who these subjects are or why we should take them seriously—we don't even get names; the good news is that we already don't take them seriously.
The Matrix, you see, is a work of fiction. So are Phillip K. Dick's works. Ditto the YouTube video essays from the depths of the internet where only the bearded truck ranters dare to tread. To these nefarious subjects, though, their "facts" are indeed facts—and grave warnings.
Ascher deserves some credit for not shying away from the darker sides of conspiracy beliefs, but Glitch runs away with its own rambling. Movie clips and frightening amateur animation do even less for credibility, and Ascher's confidence feels more like a mask for a hollow and exploitative nonstarter topic.
Ascher doesn't know what he's going for. His film is somehow comedic, dark and dull all at once, and he seemingly decides skimming the surface will do. Glitch is a 108-minute equivalent of a shrug. The automated voice that reads Wikipedia articles out loud would leave you with more.
+ The subject is inherently interesting, at least?
– Everything else; animations are the stuff of night terrors
A Glitch in the Matrix
Directed by Ascher
VoD, NR, 108 min