In Bright Axiom
by Seth Troyer
A startup takes on a mysterious name: The Latitude Society. They have decided to use their money to give people an “experience” by making art installations sprinkled with cultish undertones. Eventually, when they begin asking for money to fund these happenings, the public says,“that was fun, but, no thank you.” In the aftermath, Latitude decides to use money that they apparently had all along to film a documentary about themselves.
Rather than making a truthful 20-minute documentary, Latitude created a documentary that attempts to fuse the stories and rumors they perpetuate with their apparently true experiences. It’s essentially a game where the audience’s goal is to discern fact from fiction, and this detective work is enjoyable for the first thirty minutes. However, once you get the hang of separating their truths from their very obvious lies, it all becomes increasingly uninteresting.
For the remainder of the runtime I waited for a twist, for it to maybe turn humorous like This Is Spinal Tap, or perhaps horrific like The Blair Witch Project. I won’t give too much away, but unfortunately, it continues to play the same games from start to finish.
We are given reenactments and interviews with folks involved, speaking of “you just had to be there” moments that may or may not have occurred. Even if they did happen, the stories are soon lost in the shuffle, getting mixed in with so much fiction that they become rather meaningless.
It’s sweet of these hippies to want to give us something memorable, but just because they continually tell us we’re having “an experience” doesn’t mean it’s an enjoyable one.
The real value here comes from seeing it all as a test: how long does it take to spot trickery, to smell time, money and energy being wasted? How long does it take you to leave the room?
If this was filmmaker Spencer McCall’s intent, then he has indeed made something in the spirit of actual anti-establishment, psychonauts like Robert Anton Wilson (whose quote at the beginning of this film adds a half star to this review). Sadly, this does not seem to be the case. Maybe McCall could have spent more time actually reading Wilson’s books and less time on these enlightenment role playing games.