SFotD: ‘Lisa’ is the Perfect Sci-Fi Woman Built in a Basement

By  · Published on January 11th, 2013

Why Watch? Anders (Dominic Bogart) works an unfulfilling job making something the mainstream public will probably love (which makes him gag), but at night, he gets to labor away at his passion project. It’s almost everyone’s life story with one small difference: Anders makes robots.

It’s really attention to detail (both the design and the story) that makes this all-too-common sci-fi trope sing with richer tones. Bogart gives a keen performance as a younger Doc Brown on OCD medication. He displays an incredible power that’s locked away in a man who has no choice but to be subdued – from the way he lightly brushes his prototypes hair to how he sees red when an ounce of mustard is spilled by his lovely Lisa.

Of course, while most good science fiction uses the extra breathing room of technology to explore a difficult human theme, the thing that’s kind of brilliant about Lisa is how pedestrian it makes the concept of building robots seem. Anders could be doing anything else for employment and the core elements of the story could still be there, but Drew Mylrea’s short film transforms 2033 into something beautifully quotidian. It’s an everyman with a job a million times cooler than all of ours, and he’s still irritated. Maybe there’s something depressing in it: that even when we’re making mind-blowing robots, we’ll still eventually make that the status quo and ho-hum our way through the cubicle work of quality testing Lisa for delivery. Kind of like how we sit thousands of feet in the air on a 6-hour flight across country and only manage to complain.

With near-flawless production design and a shrewd use of some strong practicals, the science part thankfully never distracts from the fiction. It’s tragic, sharp and truly entertaining, and I wonder if Mylrean is still tweaking his own private version.

What will it cost? Only 9 minutes.

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Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector Podcast@brokenprojector | Writing short stories at Adventitious.