Director: Jeff Orlowski
Starring: Skyler Gisondo, Kara Hayward, and Vincent Kartheiser
The Social Dilemma is Netflix’s new documentary which is really getting people talking on… well… social media…
That is pretty ironic if you ask me.
The Social Dilemma is a documentary all about how dangerous social media is, and then people started talking and raving about it on social media platforms.
It’s just one of those amusing things, and I’m doing exactly the same thing.
I’m going to be posting this review to Facebook and Twitter with the caption: “WARNING: You might want to uninstall and delete all your social media apps and accounts after watching this movie…”
Anyway, let’s talk about the actual movie.
The Social Dilemma was first premiered as this year’s Sundance Film Festival and there was quite a lot of buzz about it.
It was then purchased by Netflix and they’ve now released it on their streaming platform.
The Social Dilemma is scarier than you’d think
The film was directed by Jeff Orlowski and written by Orlowski, Davis Coombe, and Vickie Curtis.
Yes, this documentary was written by people because in many ways it’s not a documentary.
It’s what people refer to as a ‘docu-drama’.
I hate that term, mainly because I’m not a fan of the medium.
If you’re interviews or documenting aren’t interesting enough on their own and you feel like you need to dramatise things, then your documentary has an issue.
But, I’ll get into all of that in a minute.
The Social Dilemma is a series of talking head interviews with people who were or are a pretty big deal in the tech industry.
You have people who used to work for Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Instagram…
Think of a social media app, there’s probably one of their former employees interviewed in this movie.
In their interviews, they reveal the damage their creations and the companies they worked for have caused to society.
They discuss how these apps exploit its users for financial gain through surveillance and data mining.
They talk about how each design decision was made in order to ensure people spend as much time on the app as possible.
And then they also discuss the impact these apps have had on addiction, politics and mental health (including the mental health of children).
They also delve into apps like Facebook’s role in spreading conspiracy theories (*ahem* QANON) and aiding groups such as flat-earthers and white supremacists.
Time to put your phone away
You know what, it’s pretty scary stuff, and I regularly found myself looking at my phone – which was at an arm’s length away from me throughout the whole movie – as if it was something out of a horror film.
I swear, I could start seeing it sprouting tentacles at one point.
There’s something very alarming about listening to people who were so involved in the creation of these apps talk about how dangerous they are.
One of the interviewees is the guy who came up with the ‘Like’ button on Facebook.
It’s heartbreaking to see him talk about how he’s now come to severely regret his decision after its link to teen suicides became evident.
The only issue I have with The Social Dilemma are the dramatic reenactments.
I already mentioned earlier in this review that I already had an issue with these to begin with.
However, it’s exacerbated by the fact that the storyline in the film’s dramatic scenes is really not that interesting.
What should we do next?
I get that they were trying to make a point by showing a family whose whole existence is threatened by their use of social media apps.
However, I feel that this plotline didn’t really go far enough, nor was it that interesting.
The idea is a pretty neat one and I can understand why they thought these scenes would work.
However, they end up feeling forced.
I just wanted to get back to the interviews, which is where the film’s real meat lies.
That said, it’s an eye-opneing and frankly terrifying documentary.
I’ll surely be looking at my phone in a slightly different light after watching this documentary.
That said, I’m still not sure if I can delete all social media apps from my phone.
I use Twitter and Facebook a lot for Small Screen… It’s just one of the issues of being in thus business, I guess.
What do you make of this review?
Have you watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.