(This is The Masseuse short film review, which is a sci-fi story set in Kuala Lumpur and was released in Vimeo)
Can love blossoms between an Android and her technician? And how would it turn out when the technician’s father himself is in an anti-android faction? The Masseuse uses these conflicts as the base of its narrative that aims to entertain, but also subtly teaches us about some real world stuff.
It is directed by Tan Ce Ding, and features Koe Sheng, Candy Ice, Chen Puie Heng and Diana Kok. This short film has also been part of many film festivals or film competitions official selections. But we are here to check out the truth to see how good it really is, right down in The Masseuse short film review below!
When a technician comes to fix up an old Android model, both of them inadvertently develop feelings towards each other. But will it blossom smoothly?
The Masseuse Short Film Review
The story is a simple one but filled with a great twist at the end. At first things are quite cliché, especially the part when the Android and technician develop their feelings. But what I like is the introduction and also a kind of subtle foreshadowing with the form of the technician’s father.
The premise contains some conflicts that feel real, and also relatable to most audience. Although it is sci-fi in nature, the whole story takes place in a city that is not so different from ours now. And with characters that have jobs which are commonplace today, the premise balances fiction and realism well enough.
It is similar to something like Black Mirror, but with a Malaysian flavour added, more specifically the KL flavour. With the themes about romance, abuse as well as sacrifice, I felt that this film tackles all of them in a great refreshing way due to its unique take on the genre.
the premise balances fiction and realism well enough
The ending itself is a both surprising, and yet also filled with sadness and regret that I feel is a good way to tell us something about the character’s decision. Overall, there are none of those extreme dramatisation that is like in Hollywood. Here, it feels like a slice-of-life.
Pacing is mostly pretty great from beginning till the end. Some parts in the middle are slowed down for a more dramatic effect, but they are handled well.
As for Visual, I feel a sense of Black Mirror Season 1 style, and some much lesser form of Blade Runner in terms of showing the futuristic technology. However, with the setting mixture of old urban jungle buildings, and also the massage parlour, it creates a unique concept that blends nicely with South East Asia’s twist.
CGI are mostly well-done and looks pretty high budget for such a short film. They are used in appropriate manners, though the quality can be inconsistent a bit, especially the TV news section, as they look horribly low-budget, and fakish.
His character is full of conflict, with his dad being anti-android, and yet he himself is an android technician
Characters take the centre stage here. I like the relationship between the technician and the android. They seem very natural, and their interactions are reflection of how people in South East Asia normally portray in real life. Sure, some of the dialogues are cliché, but with the actors’ performances as well as the great directing, they are executed smoothly enough to keep them interesting.
The technician himself deserves a pretty good applause for his acting. His character is full of conflict, with his dad being anti-android, and yet he himself is an android technician. The love that he is searching for is between that of an android love or that of a parental one. I must say it’s a very interesting character with a background that will be applicable to many people in Asia.
As for the android, she is pretty good too, just that perhaps more scenes could be shot to show her background better. Otherwise, the other characters such as the Father is also impactful due to his actions towards his son, and all these done through very few dialogues.
The love that he is searching for is between that of an android love or that of a parental one
Soundtrack is just okay, and not particularly memorable. They do help with accentuating the mood in some scenes, but thats’ all.