Life Tracker is creative, thought provoking, and worth your time.
When talking about this film, I have to break it into two categories, film style, and story. While both of these elements are joined at the hip, and work together seamlessly, they do deserve individual consideration. They do also warrant consideration as a cohesive unit, but one thing at a time.
Life Tracker is a “found footage” type of film. These have run amok on the indie circuit, and have developed a bad reputation, a reputation they earned. This is not a typical found-footage style film. The film style, and I hate to make this comparison because it feels loaded, hails back to the genesis of found footage films The Blair Witch Project. I make that comparison because the concept of the found footage makes perfect sense. The primary character is filming, or attempting to film, a documentary. It makes absolute sense that they would have conversations with a camera about what is happening, and that they would film everything. The filming itself is, while maintaining an “amateurish” look through a majority of the film, well shot. This gives the film a very organic look and feeling. There are genuine moments watching this movie, you forget you are actually watching a movie. The illusion would be flawless if actor’s performances were also flawless, but flawless performances are rare, so it would be unfair to rail against any actor for a generally flawed performance. I will however say every actor in this movie had missteps that I would chalk up to inexperience. The most seasoned actor was Matt Dallas, which would make his performance the most inexcusable. Rebecca Marshall didn’t commit any major cinematic sins, but neither was she anything above acceptable. Barry Finnegan is a virtual rookie, and by virtue of that receives the most slack, I think with experience his performances will become less erratic. I wish the performers here did have more experience, and could have brought a little more consistency and depth to the characters they portray.
The second element here is the story. The story is unique. The basic premise is predicting an individual’s future through reading their DNA, and the implications, and impact on the world. That may be reminiscent of stories like Gattica, but it takes a step further. The comparison there is really in the most general of terms. The story is told as Dillon Smith (Barry Finnegan) films a documentary about the Life Tracker program. He is an aspiring filmmaker, this is very evident, and I think makes for a more interesting story. If we were to see this through the eyes of a veteran documentary filmmaker there would be virtually no personal drama, no anecdotal arguments with friends. Dillon reminds me of a struggling Morgan Spurlock. Trying to not only figure out how to make the film, but how to tell the story, ultimately putting themselves on the line and directing the narrative themselves, through their own experiences. The film is as much watching these characters struggle to create a film, and managing their own personal relationships while the Life Tracker story explodes around them.
The film is not without flaws, few films are, but I liked it in spite of those flaws. Yes I wish the cast delivered a better performance, however I still enjoyed it, and will watch it again. I would give this film 3 out of 5 stars, for a good story, and creative film-making.