Almost a quarter of a century after the inception of online social media it still received a damaging reputation. But this is at least partly for good reason. Depression, anxiety, lethargy and vying for mass attention are more visible than ever through these platforms. But while Smartphone addiction still remains outside of the DSM-5 compendium of psychological/mental disorders, it’s impossible to avoid the earthshattering impact these devices have had on our individual and social lives.
However, to spin this impact as wholly negative would be entirely missing the point, as social media and a wealth of interconnected devices provide grounds for greater friendship, larger inclusivity, louder voices and easy avenues for fact-checking—to name but a few of the reams of benefits. It’s therefore sad to see that iRony has doubled down on portraying life in a technology-driven world with a resounding boo.
From its sharp, rhythmic opening through its countless settings and situations to its aggressive and disturbing conclusion, iRony is held together by a succinct, clever poem which employs wordplay as its primary tool. This verse is read cold, by an affective echoing voice accompanied by a tense ever-moving score, keeping the atmosphere uncertain, and haunting. But the film’s true strength lies in its visuals. The expertly imagined animated and (seemingly) rotoscoped sequences never falter, remaining compelling, colourful and wholly unique throughout. Between bold colours, sharp outlines and the occasional muted frame it’s clear that director/animator Radheya Jegatheva has a unique way with the medium.
It is clear, that animator Radheya Jegatheva has incredible talent and aptitude for animation. The film’s entire runtime is filled with rich, well executed visual ideas which remain firmly lodged in my brain. However, iRony’s main pitfalls are in the singular, unflinching ideology it presents. I am certain that this film will find a wanting audience, be it at deep-thinking film festivals or as part of the fast-food philosophy we find plastered all over Facebook—and, oh how ironic the latter would be.