This film opens in a warmly lit pub, focusing on a table with a person on either side. The two characters – who we follow for most of this film – are played by Will Merrick and Laura Fleming, and they both have that awkward chemistry which is both relatable and endearing. The sweet feeling of their date is compounded by the really effective set design which gives an almost cloying sense of warmth and homeliness. Their charm means you would want to watch them on a normal date, even without the technological twist and this immersion is what allows the dynamics to be manipulated and turned on their head.
Swiped uses this established emotional investment really intelligently, as it subtly subverts its own format and makes a commentary on online dating (and dating writ large). We’re particularly shown the way that online dating enables us to be cruel and treat people as disposable objects without any real consequence. This critique is really given an edge by the false sense of security the film lures you into, allowing its more sinister elements to hit harder. Maybe my one issue is that this critique does feel a little one-sided but that’s hardly surprising given that the film is only five minutes long.
Swiped provides a hard-hitting critique of the modern dating landscape, even if its scope is a little limited.
New Creatives is a talent development scheme supported by Arts Council England and BBC Arts, delivered in the Midlands by Rural Media. You can find this film here.
We also interviewed Luke Collins, Writer, Director and Cinematographer of Swiped, and we would love for you to read his thoughts on the future of VR here.