Set in a not-so-distant future dystopia, this gripping film carries the viewer along at a mesmerizing rhythmic pace almost like a piece of music. Then come the sudden jolts of recognition - this could be like us now, this could be what we are becoming. Reality TV run by the state and taken to new extremes, where prisoners are the celebrities and the number of views they garner from round-the-clock public surveillance cameras feeds a pervasive propaganda and advertising machine. Huge display screens on building facades throughout the city and loudspeakers make it impossible to ignore the chosen prisoner idol. The public is meant to live vicariously through his choices and to vote on his fate.
The visuals are stunning and imaginative, the acting is fresh and real. Other scenes in the film take place at a secret off-the-grid commune for societal escapees, smoldering favela-towns, as they are called in the film, filled with scavenging drifters. A behind-the-scenes control room is where we watch the powerful few who control surveillance and broadcasting, and by extension the citizenry at large, hash out their differences. Subtleties in human motivations do not clearly differentiate good people from bad. A network of revolting tech-savvy youth is threatening the existing order. It is a post-apocalyptic world that looks a lot like our current images of war and destruction.