Point of View

Developer:  Digital Circus
Publisher:  Aftermath Media
Year Released:  2001

Review by Steve Ramsey (February, 2002)
Described as "an edgy suspense story about obsession, art, eroticism and murder", Point of View is an interactive movie from the same stable and very much in the same vein as Tender Loving Care. You watch a chapter from a movie, and then get to answer a series of questions which will shape the direction the movie takes over the next and subsequent chapters. There are 12 chapters in all, and each is followed by the question and answer session. The result is the "movie you made", which you can then watch uninterrupted from start to finish should you want to do so.

I did not want to do so. Although the movie is well acted, and nicely shot, and the script stays within the bounds of believability, there is something missing. It felt like it had been written one way, then watered down, anything remotely overt having been largely stripped from the end product. The edginess had the volume turned down to such an extent that it wasn't that edgy, nor was it that erotic or obsessive. It could have been, as all the elements are there, but it's ultimately a muted outcome.

A little more TLC
It's all the more disappointing by comparison with Tender Loving Care. That game was not everyone's cup of tea, but it certainly did not back off from being overtly confronting. Point of View is a more polished product in many ways, but it is less interesting as a result.

One of the things that interests me about these types of interactive movies is seeing how different answers to different questions shape the movie, which means you need to play the movie more than once. The desire to do so is strengthened if the movie is compelling or interesting in itself. As stated above, I did not find Point of View compelling at all.

Nevertheless, I did go back about half way, and changed my answers to certain questions. The result was some scenes which played out slightly differently, and a different perpetrator. The ending though was largely the same; it was just a different person who "dunnit". The website indicates there are 3 distinct endings. Whether that means there are 3 persons who dunnit, or you can actually get a fundamentally different ending, I am not sure, but based on my experience I suspect it's the former. I was not moved to experiment further to find out.

As well as the questions you answer at the end of each chapter, you can choose to have various characters talk to you about their thoughts or feelings as to what is going on, and you can examine in more detail some of their possessions, and learn more about them. You don't have to do these things, but it adds depth to both the characters and the plot, and may help to shape your opinions about what is happening and therefore affect your answers to the next set of questions.

Lets talk about you
Not all the questions are about what is happening in the movie. Many are about ascertaining your personal opinion on matters related to the plot - fear, sex, fantasy, desire and even rape. Some are simply about you - how many sexual partners have you had? Whilst it's a tamer product than Tender Loving Care, much of its content is still adult in nature. For that at least the developers should be praised. There are a lot of adults playing games, but adult content is largely avoided.

The plot is something best not discussed in detail, but then I am the sort of person that won't watch movie trailers in case they reveal too much. Suffice to say that Jane is a troubled, possibly damaged, person, who creates a less troubled world within her apartment and through her camera, but one which ultimately can't keep the real world at bay.

The movie is shot in Vancouver, and local musicians Payten Rule and Jefreejon provide the music. Much of it was mood music, and generally worked well, but occasionally the musicians took centre stage by performing tracks in a bar. There are about a dozen tracks in all, and if you enjoy it you can purchase the soundtrack separately.

It can be purchased on line at rating:  

Copyright © Steve Ramsey 2002. All rights reserved.

System Requirements:
Pentium 90 or higher
Windows 95 or higher
5MB disc space
SVGA video card with 1MB RAM
Direct X support