Movie review: ‘Creative Control’

Nora Zehetner and Benjamin Dickinson in ‘Creative Control’
Nora Zehetner and Benjamin Dickinson in ‘Creative Control’ Amazon Studios

The stylishly impressive Creative Control, a satirical meditation on millennial malaise, concerns an overstressed, overpaid young man whose high-tech glasses lead to romantic misadventures — both real and virtually real.

In true, ironic hipster fashion, Creative Control is both modern and retro. Its modern in the sense that it deals with themes of how technology can be a disconnecting force in our lives. Yet many frames of this gorgeously shot black-and-white film recall the classic work of Italian master Michelangelo Antonioni.

It’s a clever contrast from director Benjamin Dickinson, who also plays the main character, David. It’s not a stretch to think that Antonioni might have gravitated to such material if he were alive.

Like Antonioni, Dickinson is less interested in narrative structure and character development, but there’s a problem here: He has nothing new to say about technology, alienation and the lost art of romance. Instead of contemplating these themes in more depth, Creative Control spends a lot of screen time on such matters as the marketing of the glasses and the yoga exploits of David’s girlfriend.

In the meantime, David’s virtual fling with his best friend’s significant other — the virtual heart of the film — is underdeveloped, which reduces the film’s satirical bite and sexual edge.

Still, Creative Control is intelligently made and contains some impressive set-pieces, most notably a flirtatious texting scene at David’s office. And Dickinson’s film gathers some momentum near the end: We see a sliver of a human connection, before technology returns us to the disconnect mode, perhaps for good.

Exclusive: The Texas Theatre, Dallas

Creative Control

 1/2  (out of five)

Director: Benjamin Dickinson

Cast: Benjamin Dickinson, Nora Zehetner, Alexia Rasmussen

Rated: R (strong sexual content, nudity, language and drug use)

Running time: 97 min.