Technically impressive, no? Covers a bit of the same thematic/emotional ground as Blomkamp's earlier works. And the nods to Owen's previous efforts made me smile. True, the action was a bit too tight for my tastes, at times. But that's a nearly ubiquitous criticism when it comes to modern action films. And while there's something about it that seems a bit distant in terms of its story (and its unhuman protagonist, Lily), Owen is a real anchor, conveying both determination and a bit of emotional nuance in a (nearly) dialogue-free environment. Just like in the olden days.
And that's the real takeaway for me, no matter the criticisms: I'm just really, really glad to see the original series back in the news, inspiring and challenging filmmakers of all ages. (That Short of the Week summary post I mentioned earlier is really fantastic. Includes video for both seasons of the first series, and a nice bit of analysis for each episode. Be sure to check it out.)
The Hire series will always be a landmark in advertising and thus is essential watching for that fact alone. Additionally, it is unlikely that we will ever see short films made with these kind of production budgets and talent again, so fans of the short format owe it to themselves to check them out.
I had a great time revisiting each of the films, even the ones I was blasé about, as the ones I felt were bad were generally bad in an interesting way. That said, it does feel like the novelty of the project, and the mythology it subsequently took on, has overtaken the an honest appraisal of the quality of the product over the years. The Follow by Wong Kar Wai is the only truly standout piece, though Frankenheimer’s The Ambush is quite good as well, and I have no reservations recommending Lee’s Chosen. Even Inarritu’s Powder Keg and Carnahan’s Ticker have their moments. Still, that’s only just over half of the 8 films which I would call creative hits.