We have seen interactive movies before, the most obvious and most recent was of course the episode of Black Mirror, Bandersnatch. Well, now we have a new one, The Complex.
You follow Dr. Amy Tennant, Michelle Mylett (“Letterkenny (TV)”, “Goliath”), a woman who has created nano technology that can enter any human body and fix their ailments.
This is all well and good, until Clare Lee, Kim Adis (“Get Even (TV)”, “The Turning”), an internet at Kensington labs were Amy works, falls ill on the tube, violently ill.
It transpires that Clare has taken all of Amy’s nano cells, all of them, and there aren’t any backups, of course. Kensington, or more specifically the boss Nathalie Kensington, Kate Dickie (“Prevenge”, “Prometheus”), bring in Rees Wakefield, Al Weaver (“Grantchester (TV)”, “Colette”), who we see right at the start of the movie, running out on Amy in a crisis.
Amy and Rees must work out what’s happened and try to save the nano technology, and maybe Clare if they can too. This leads them all underground to the security lab which involves walking through a void (no air, multiple steel doors and pathogen detection and removal) to reach.
This is where things begin to go wrong. First of all, one of the two lab technicians turns out to be a double agent and tries to kill Amy, but manages to kill the other technician instead. Rees manages to kill him though, luckily.
This leaves Amy, Rees and Clare stuck underground as three other agents begin making their way to the lab, managing to override security systems as they go.
Will they get out? Will Clare survive? Is more going on then we realise, or then I’ve told you? All of these are possible, of course, it depends on the choices you make.
I went a bit gung-ho throughout, seeing one out of a possible nine endings, which resulted in Amy getting killed. I feel like that’s not a spoiler as it completely depends on your approach to the movie/game as to where you’ll end up.
The film is well made, the acting is ok, there is a pause after you’ve made your choice which most of the time feels out of place and awkward as Amy stands around as if waiting for the director, Paul Raschid (“White Chamber”, “Winterstoke House”), to shout action and tell her what she should be doing.
I didn’t get stuck in a weird loop as happened often with Bandersnatch, which is good, but I don’t feel the decisions, as fun as it was to make them, made the film any better.
I’m torn with The Complex. Is it a game? Is it a movie? It feels like a former as you have to download Steam to watch it through (if you don’t have a games console) and you unlock achievements as you go which popup on screen and are provided with a stats screen at the end; how well you interacted with others, who died, your personality.
But it’s obviously a movie for 70ish percent of the time, as you sit and watch events unfold. Also, sometimes, despite the decision you make, another character can override it, and they do.
In these strange times of Covid-19 and lockdown, The Complex is a timely movie and is fun to play along with at home with family and friends. But as a movie, I think I’ll stick with letting the writer and director tell me their story.