The movie i-Lived is a small production by today’s blockbuster standards, a rather intimate portrait of the life of a techno-geek called Josh, and his experience with an App named i-Lived.
Josh reviews iPhone Apps via his online video channel, J-Tech. He really wants to make it big. He’s your stereotypical geek – lanky hair, nerdy-looking, unemployed, broke and one rent away from eviction. Actually, the actor that plays Josh looks uncannily like a young Steve Jobs…I’m still undecided as to whether this is by accident or design. You be the judge.
Anyway, back to i-Lived. The App essentially grants the user’s wishes, after he or she has performed a mission set by i-Lived. Just your classic “Sell your soul to the Devil” concept, then.
Josh disses i-Lived at first, then things start going wrong immediately. He decides to give it another try, et voila! Soon he has a hot new girlfriend and an offer of a job as an App reviewer. Wishes DO come true. All he had to do were some rather mundane tasks, shot using the iLived App’s videocam and uploaded to its website. Easy peasy, right?
Then he notices that other subscribers are also acting out i-Lived’s missions. And that when they fail, their online profiles on the i-Lived website suddenly go “Private”. My guess is that these guys didn’t make it, capiche?
Having gotten a gorgeous new girlfriend and his dream job, Josh decides to delete his i-Lived account. That’s when things begin to go awry, the girlfriend ditches him, and the dream job vanishes as well. To top it off, Josh’s mother takes a turn for the worse when her cancer comes back with a vengeance.
Josh starts seeing a sinister-looking man in a suit carrying an umbrella, in all the frames of his i-Lived video shots. In desperation, he switches his membership to i-Lived back on, and sets a new goal – that his mother gets better. i-Lived tells him to kidnap somebody.
Josh turns to his best friend Bobby for help. They stage a fake kidnap using Bobby’s girlfriend. But i-Lived knows this, tells Josh cheating is not allowed, and punishes him by putting Bobby in hospital.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, Josh ends up kidnapping, having sex with (or does he, really??) and then killing, his landlady when she comes round looking for the rent. He’s only able to kill her after he sets his goal to become immune to guilt and remorse.
Which brings me to this scene – where Josh decides to visit i-Lived’s HQ, at 999-something Street (quite an obvious reference to the number 666), and where he gets captured by suited men (presumably the men with umbrellas that he’s been noticing in his video uploads) and taken to the Mystery Man’s luxe Gentleman’s Den, complete with crackling fire, trophy horns on the wall, leather armchairs and books from floor to ceiling.
Now You decide what the following scene really means:
After explaining to Josh the concept of i-Lived and the importance of reading the small print in any Agreement, the Mystery Man says that what i-Lived does to the human race is no different to…
Mystery Man: “…when Eve tempted Adam with the apple.”
Mystery Man: “You think you can beat it? It’s too late, we’re in business together.”
Mystery Man is literally prancing as he says this. Then he stops, and with a leering smile on his face, advances towards Josh. He then delivers his ultimatum, which basically tells Josh that he either follows i-Lived’s rules, or he’s a dead man.
And as Mystery Man says this, the camera comes to focus on his head, perfectly aligned between the two horns of the bull’s skull on the wall behind him. It makes him look like the Devil.
And That, my dear readers, was perhaps the most chilling part of the film. It sent shivers down my spine.
The film got panned by critics, but to me it was quite clever in delivering its message: that perhaps we have really sold our souls to the Devil, without realising it. Perhaps we have, like Josh, really bought lives devoid of guilt or remorse, where we can simply stand by and watch as atrocity after atrocity is committed by our fellow human beings.
Perhaps our twin Gods now are Money and Technology. Certainly the annual rush to purchase the latest Apple iPhone is the highlight of 200 million people’s lives. That’s right, 200 MILLION. You’d think that somehow, with all that state-of-the -art technology, the iPhone could last longer than one paltry year, but sadly, no, because there’s no Profit in selling products that last a lifetime, but there’s $$$Billions to be had from selling the same product with just a few tweaks in it, to the same
mugs customers and new fans, every single year.
That’s the same reason why Pharmaceuticals don’t sell natural products that actually cure patients, but rather peddle pills that alleviate symptoms, not treat the disease. And why those natural medicines are stigmatised and prohibited. Or why ladies tights keep laddering, instead of lasting forever. Why light bulb companies don’t sell everlasting lightbulbs, even though the science for that has long been proven. Ask yourself why Nikola Tesla is not in any school’s Science books.
We’ve been had.
Oh, and by the way, you must have sussed out by now what i-Lived backwards spells…
Now watch this:
And this, for a quick potted history about Nikola Tesla, unsung hero: