Published Jul 28, 2011The gist of this Ridley and Tony Scott produced documentary of sorts, Life in a Day, is that people all over the world were asked to film their life on July 24, 2010 and send it in for a compilation about life – in a day.
Ideally, this would suggest something about the universality of the quotidian, showing the many similarities and differences throughout the world that make every moment beautiful. But, in reality, it shows more so that people are ostensibly exactly what they appear to be – interchangeable and assimilative – performing to the expectations of the image, culture and class they're born into without any real knowledge of their inherent simplicity.
Grouping together footage by theme and time of day, we're shown people from all walks of life emerging from bed, working through the daily grind, getting drunk in public, proposing to each other, getting married, groping their pets and eventually fighting, because what would love be without war? Some noted universalities involve all mothers thinking their babies are special, all children acting obnoxious when cameras are put on them and all people either prattling on endlessly about their "unique" ideologue or showing off the latest shit they bought to impresses the Joneses.
I guess there's something touching and human about all of this if you're in the right frame of mind (stoned), but really, it just shows that third world countries love a good animal slaughter and that overweight, asexual men tend to have extremely unhealthy relationships with their cats.
Fortunately, some of the editing and musical montages manage to rise above the banal material, making something emotional out of a glib message and a moderately clever idea. It's these moments when firecrackers flash through the sky and fires ravage buildings that give this moderately unsuccessful experiment some heartfelt heft.
If only people really were as beautiful as Dove commercials suggest, this idealistic love song could have been the very film it was originally conceived as. Instead, it's little more than a series of vignettes submitted by a YouTube generation seeking external validation any way they can. (Mongrel Media)