Last Day Deaf gets a sneak peek at merciless, laugh out loud Tech rockstars parody…

Silicon Docks” is a wacky new animated movie custom-made for the web which will be freely available for anybody to watch non-monetised on YouTube from October 1st.

This is the latest film from acclaimed Irish film-maker Graham Jones who also wrote and directed the powerful true crime documentary “Rainy in Glenagaery” (2019) that I reviewed a few years ago, calling it “artistically sublime with a haunting quality. One of the most heartfelt and touching real crime documentaries I have ever seen. An important film that needs to be seen.”

Now while “Silicon Docks” is animated in a somewhat similar fashion it is an altogether different affair. Most notably in the comedic overtones and character animation that has been said to “bring to mind Terry Gilliam,” which is hard to argue with. Ultimately its main goal is clearly to entertain, which it certainly does, but also on a deeper level is a thought-provoking exploration of the modern tech world.

When asked of the inspiration Jones explained “Over here in Ireland we have scores of U.S. tech corporations operating in a place called Silicon Docks. It’s a smallish area just minutes from where I grew up in the eighties and was really different back then. This seismic shift in my native city has really made me reflect on everyday tech users, regular tech workers, and just our modern tech society as a whole.” Of the surreal, zany storyline he says “I thought it might be interesting to conduct a little experiment. What happens if we take a sample group, let’s say 10 early pioneers of the web and subject them to the same kind of distortions that everyone else endures online in the 21st century? How would these doctors of the internet react to a taste of their own medicine!”

Silicon Docks” follows such a group as they are prohibited from visiting one another’s European HQs or hotels during the early days of Covid-19. Nevertheless, they must urgently agree on whether or not to sign a critical EU pact and so end up on a kind of weird quest to find one Irish pub that is still open.

The satirical urban odyssey features conflict between Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and his arch nemesis Evan Spiegel who created Snapchat, also tension between space racers Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk – not to mention many other dramas endured by the cold and frustrated tech millionaires & billionaires as they stumble around locked-down Dublin in desperate need of a pint…

From opening to closing “Silicon Docks” what stands out most in this fishes out of water tale is the unique, vibrant, dynamic, visually stunning background artwork by Sonia Egan, lending itself to accentuating the production design of Diep Hoang. Both juxtaposed perfectly by Kasia Wiśniewska’s quirky character animation that adds mightily to the humour. Some of which is subtle, and to be absolutely honest some of it I know I missed. Music by Freedom Trail Studio, Futuremono, The Tower of Light, RKVC, Ashley Shadow, and Dan Lebowitz alongside the sound design further fleshes out this vivid, pandemic restricted world the tech rockstars have been thrown into.

Jones said of this impressively realised film that was so obviously created with passion and heart “This has definitely been one of my best experiences as a writer-director, but it was Kasia Wiśniewska who animated these characters and the cast of Grace Power, Shane Lynch, Brendan McDonald, Fiona Bawn-Thompson, Bobby Calloway, Rob Smith, José Naghmar, Gerry Cannon and Matthew McMahon who made it truly real.” Adding “We all made this little movie in a totally voluntary capacity using incredibly limited resources, primarily to stop ourselves from going stir-crazy during the pandemic. It’s a film that empowers us to test the boundaries of internet culture.”

While at just over 80 minutes at times it feels a little overlong, but never outstaying its welcome. Yet it is a whole lot of fun with its scathing satirical tone.

Silicon Docks” cannot be recommended enough for those that are looking for something different and who appreciate thoughtful works of zany comic book infused art.

An animated movie like no other.

Karl Franks