Release Date: TBD
Director: Jocelyn Kelvin
MPAA Rating: NR
Film Pulse Score: 4/10
A husband and wife team of video game designers have developed a new game, called “Your Friends Close” that requires them to move to Paris. As most people would do they throw a going away party and invite all their friends, many of whom are game designers themselves. However, there is more to this party than meets the eye. As the evening progresses questions are asked about what they are creating, truths are revealed that have remained until then a secret, loyalties are tested and bonds are broken. It’s just your typical everyday going away party.
Your Friends Close is another film where it becomes difficult to discuss certain plot elements at the risk of spoiling the ending. However it can be said that those elements make sense once the ending is revealed. It’s just that while you watch them unfold you are left with a series of problems. You don’t really care about anyone. Everyone comes off as self-centered, egotistical creative types that you pretty much want to tune out anything they say or do. They aren’t all that interesting. Nearly everyone talks in “geek speak” that it becomes dull because you as the viewer don’t know what they are talking about. Threads get crossed that things start to become convoluted and at times confusing. Stopping to ask wasn’t he with her or wait a minute who is that guy again is not good. Situations feel staged. In the context of the overall picture it becomes clear why but nothing really felt organic. It all felt like they were playing for the camera.
Kelvin and screenwriter Brock Wilbur had an interesting concept. Unfortunately it wasn’t properly executed nor was it immediately accessible or relatable. For this viewer it would have been more revelatory had they gone a different route with their ending. Reaching the same conclusion but looking at it in another way which was where I thought it was going. As it is you are left to shrug and say “okay.” It felt like it was more geared towards a specific audience, the gamer community, then for general audiences. There are so many characters and there’s a lot said but after awhile you begin to lose track of who did or said what. There is a dramatic arc between the husband and wife that plays out through the film but in the end, once all is said and done, instead of sympathy there is indifference. Unless of course the intention was to make sure you didn’t like anyone in the end.
It’s a bit high concept for a first feature but Kelvin does her best since she is not just the director but one of the leads as well. While the ending is interesting everything leading up to it is not. It’s a nice try but in the end it probably could have used less design and more reality.