Set within an area of Dublin quite literally called Silicon Docks, writer/director Graham Jones's satirical and whip-smart animated feature Silicon Docks times itself in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. A group of America's superrich and superpowerful tech giants, think Bezos, Zuckerberg, Musk, and others, have gathered in advance of discussions around a critical EU pact only to face being unable to gather in each other's hotels, HQ's, or other spaces and set off on a weird, distinctly Irish, quest to find a single Dublin pub that's open so they can hash out whether or not to sign on to the pact.
The film that unfolds is a rather glorious, patiently rendered beast with animation by Kasia Wiśniewska that is immersive and expressionistic with characterizations that feel both surprisingly realistic and completely absurd. The individuals represented here - Marissa Mayer (Grace Power), Larry Page (Shane Lynch), Sergey Brin (Brendan McDonald), Susan Wojcicki (Fiona Bawn-Thompson), Mark Zuckerberg (Bobby Calloway), Evan Spiegel (also Calloway), Jack Dorsey (Rob Smith), Reed Hastings (Gerry Cannon), Jeff Bezos (Matthew McMahon, and Elon Musk (Jose Naghmar) - are easy to recognize if you're remotely familiar with the tech industry and vividly, and often hilariously, brought to life.
I'll confess to having Rob Smith's Jack Dorsey as a personal favorite, though I'll also confess to always having found Dorsey to be a bit fascinating.
Diep Hoang's production design is stellar and music from the likes of Freedom Trail Studio, Futuremono, The Tower of Light, RKVC, Ashley Shadow, and Dan Lebowitz complements the film's gently paced yet undeniably pointed storytelling from Jones. As this urban journey unfolds, we see our somewhat agitated tech bros and sisters come to life with their complicated histories and rivalries spoken and unspoken as the forces around them equally impact the decisions they are making.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Elon is the quirkiest while Zuck comes off with that same eerie, man-child look we've all seen him possess. Bezos is, well, Bezos and Dorsey brings to mind the countless COVID hipsters we've all encountered who've all lectured us on mask-wearing while doing everything else wrong.
There's more. So much more.
While one could potentially argue that Silicon Docks starts to wear out its welcome a bit toward film's end, the yellow brick road of it all is that the team behind the film has made Silicon Docks available for viewing on Youtube in a non-monetized fashion. It's a master stroke of creative genius that lives into the satire that comes to life here and leans into the film's messaging. Most likely not a film that will resonate with everyone, for those who appreciate intelligent and thought-provoking animation Silicon Docks is an inspired and intelligent effort worth checking out.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic