Beginning with Netflix’s romantic hit “Set it up,” Zoey Deutch has taken on a wide variety of projects: from her overly plastic yet lovable Madison in “Zombieland: Knockout” to victim-turned-activist in “The Politician,” He has managed to give heart to even the most unlikely characters. Which is why it’s gratifying to see her take a turn into a completely unlikable character in “Fake influencer” (or “Not Okay” in English), a smart movie from director Quinn Shephard.
Danni (Zoey Deutch) works as a photo retoucher in a medium, but her dream is to be a writer: she wants the world to see her. One day, in order to impress an influencer (Dylan O’Brien), she tells a terrible lie: she says that she is going to a writers’ retreat in Paris. Hers He takes a week off her work and starts doing Photoshop montages of her in the city of love. Everything is under control… until they announce on the news that there was a terrorist attack in Paris. This gives her immediate fame, but her lie grows and grows until it takes her to a point of no return.
This isn’t the first selfish character for Deutch, who played a con-artist debt collector in “Buffaloed”; however, that movie compensated for her self-centeredness with her cunning and perseverance, plus she was surrounded by a series of more unpleasant and unscrupulous characters (a bit in the style of “Vice” or “The Wolf of Wall Street”). In “False influencer”, Danni is irredeemable: we are talking about a girl who in the first moments of the film regrets not having been in the country during 9/11, because not witnessing that event took her away from the trauma of her generation ; She “she didn’t even know anyone who died there,” she adds.
The actress seizes on this complete lack of empathy that comes from privilege (the reason she wasn’t on 9/11 is because her parents took her on a cruise), and fearlessly squeezes it. Similar to Nicole Kidman in “To Die For” or Reese Witherspoon in “Election,” Deutch brilliantly captures her leading lady’s loathsomeness and makes us look forward to her downfall. In someone else’s hands this would make the movie completely unbearable, but her star’s charisma and energy mean that one can understand her motivations and insecurities, even when her actions are unjustifiable.
On the other hand, the script (also written by Shephard) doesn’t fully commit to its premise. Unlike the other examples mentioned above, this one strays a bit from its darker aspects; Despite boasting of not giving redemption to its protagonist, it does fall a little is the sentimentality at the end. The story could have benefited a little more from having an “Ingrid Goes West” or “Young Adult” tone, which really pushes its protagonists to the limit. Although this treatment makes it more accessible than the aforementioned works, it also somewhat betrays its approach.
Apart from her speech about the horribleness of social networks (which we have already seen in other productions), what is really interesting is Danni’s relationship with Rowan (Mia Isaac), a teenage survivor of a school shooting that Danni takes advantage of to get more fame. As the plot progresses, both become closer, and Danni realizes the terribleness of her actions, without abandoning her complete lack of tact: when Rowan invites her to an event protesting the use of weapons, Danni says that they are like Katniss and Rue, leaders of the revolution, and one can’t help but roll one’s eyes at the audacity of such a statement. Isaac conveys Rowan’s sweetness and bravery perfectly, which is key to highlighting Danni’s selfishness: a scene of the two of them singing in the car followed by another of post-traumatic stress captures the complexities of this relationship very well, and much of it is thanks Isaac.
“Falsa influencer” navigates with intelligence and humor through its complicated premise (not just anyone can make a comedy about these issues). It is not easy to watch, many times one squirms with anxiety to see how Danni sinks deeper and deeper, but it is worth it to see the trio of Shephard, Isaac and Deutch make intelligent notes about white privilege and the harmfulness of social networks.
“Fake influencer” is available on Star+.