If you’ve ever participated in online dating, BROWSE will either resonate with you or totally freak you out. Lukas Haas (who was the kid from 1985’s Witness, and was also in Inception), plays a guy whose life starts to unravel after he cruises around a dating site called MeetMarket. I went into the movie expecting a fable about the horrors of online dating, but BROWSE goes far beyond that, exploring our reliance on technology more broadly, and how it can impact our lives.
BROWSE has no special effects and I imagine it didn’t cost much to make, but it is a very entertaining movie. The cinematography is sharp and the dialogue feels authentic. While Haas is the only actor I recognized (and he takes up most of the screen time), it is filled with great performances by supporting actors (Bodhi Elfman’s apartment manager Kyle steals every scene he is in). Haas deftly plays a sort of everyman, but he’s got an edge to him. There’s something not quite right beneath the surface and he isn’t always a good fellow. Actually, that applies to everyone in this movie. While the supporting characters are often friendly and funny, there’s something menacing to their performances that you often can’t put your finger on.
BROWSE plays like a classic monster movie without the monster (think Jaws). We see the impact, without ever having the curtain pulled back to give a full explanation. We start to question every character, including our hero. Forcing us to rely on our imagination is likely more unsettling than anything they could show us on the screen.
BROWSE falters a bit in two areas. First, it lingers a little too long on some montages featuring an ex. They seemed a little self indulgent and robbed the movie of momentum. Second, I found the ending to fall a little flat, particularly if you are the type of viewer who likes a neat and tidy resolution. Ending aside, for those willing to enjoy the journey, BROWSE is an excellent thriller and commentary on modern society.
BROWSE is now available on VOD services.
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