8 October 2012


Want to experience the ultimate social network? The Bentham Grid went online in 2023 and it ties every detail of your existence up and tracks you using your DNA.  New York City gives the grid the green light and crime plummets to all-time lows. A new era seems to be upon us – the perfect society.

Set in 2023 New York looks little changed – except for the technology involved – and it strikes the right note. It is something that the makes of Children of Men got right a few years ago, transplanting us to a near future without losing the cultural handles needed to make it seem real to us.  I was left wanting more – much more – at the end.  This could (and should) be developed in to a motion picture.

The movie is jam packed with excellent ideas and imagery, from the familiar but futuristic technology (I just hope the executives of Apple aren’t watching) to the weaponry – plenty of references to other movies too.
Yet one reference is to the past. The name of the Bentham Grid harkens back to one Jeremy Bentham, the English founder of modern utilitarianism and someone who designed but never built something called the Panopticon.

The basic concept of his design was to allow watchmen to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) people within a certain area without their being able to tell whether or not they are being watched.  An interesting idea, but the enterprise was to create a perfect prison and not a perfect society.

This is an excellent slice of science fiction by @radical.media who until this point has been best known for its commercial work.  However, Plurality looks set to change that.  They are hybridizing to develop, produce and distribute TV and movies among other forms of digital content and design.

The movie stars Jeff Nissani who you may have seen in last year’s comedy short Mac & Cheese.  The female lead is played by Samantha Strelitz who has recently been seen in The OC Club and I Married a Mobster.   If support actor John Di Domenico seems familiar then it’s probably because you have seen Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans although his résumé does also feature the more upmarket The Sopranos, in which he played Howie Reinstein in 2007.

Hats off to director and writer Dennis Liu, who is a graduate of the Taft School and NYU with a major in film, for this exemplary work.