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Guidance (2022) Review – Black Mirrroesque Take On The Advent Of Intrusive Technology

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A human is an imperfect being, and it is those imperfections that make said individual unique. Deep, dark secrets that one conceals only help retain elements of one’s personal life. It would be an impossible dream to invent technology, to detect or even prevent a lie from being spoken. Neysan Sobhani’s film Guidance is a telling sign of what will happen if someone can make the impossible possible.




 

How would a world be if the ability to lie was eliminated by technology? Lies wouldn’t be a thing, but what about the element of trust and privacy? If every single aspect (breath, reaction, repressed memories) can be accessed and scanned, would we be humans or robots? Is that the price to pay for a perfect society? These questions come to the forefront and receive answers in this Chinese film.

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Borrowing its name from the NIS, Guidance focuses on individuals who consume a tablet filled with nanobots and give themselves over to an AI. They hear a voice in their head and can scan anything and everything that is said to them. These results breed an element of mistrust that sabotages the relationship between the protagonists i.e. Han Miao (Jia Sun) and Mai Zi Xuan (Harry Song).




Miao pays through her nose for a telescope to ensure that her partner has a delightful surprise for their trip. As they travel to a remote location, there are no walls between them. However, after they activate Guidance and learn of its invasive and intrusive methods to eradicate the truth, one can notice the tall walls around them. Zoe Lee’s production design ensures that the white walls are extremely high and almost dwarf Miao and Xuan. This serves as a metaphor for how they must raise huge barriers to escape detection from the other. 

GUIDANCE Movie Review (1)

Navid Hejazi’s music retains a haunting effect that presents the conflict among the leads as they realize the efforts of concealment and the impact anything that emerges has on their relationship. 

The film’s idea didn’t feel fresh in any manner. This dystopian presentation of technology eliminating/replacing the human nature of day-to-day interactions reminded me of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror. Netflix’s ‘The Entire History of You’ is the episode that came to mind upon watching this movie.




While the Black Mirror episode only focused on the requirement to access archives and analyze anything, Guidance kind of distanced itself from the British TV series episode. Writers Neysan Sobhani, Wang Pei You, and Anders R. Franson show that although technology may not be beatable, it can be defeated in numerous other ways. They ensure that the spotlight remains on the power of basic human cognition and perseverance. 

“Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power”- Lao Zi

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As the elements in the above sentence play out, I liked the use of sound to convey the internal strife. Furthermore, the time-lapse only enhanced Sobhani’s idea to represent Miao’s perseverance amidst repeated failures. With Guidance forming the central idea of the story and the themes taking center stage, the actors really didn’t get a chance to steal the spotlight.




 

However, Sun would be remembered as she had a meatier part and appeared in the present as well as the flashbacks. Each different time setting presented a different version of the character, which only elevated her performance in Guidance. 

Guidance is a Black Mirrroesque take on the advent of intrusive technology in daily life. Watch it to understand why the human element is important in every single thing. Although Guidance aims to ensure a utopian concept, it is imperative that technology has people to understand and interpret it; perhaps even replace it.




  

It isn’t fresh for those who have followed the British series. However, this film serves as a decent watch if one can stomach the unnecessary scenes involving the fishbowl, the treks, and the runtime. Although it was just 85 minutes, Guidance could have been a tad shorter as the film’s message would have gotten across, regardless. 

Trailer

Guidance (2022) Movie Links – IMDb, Letterboxd
Guidance (2022) Movie Cast – Jia Sun, Harry Song, Francesco Chen

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