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Unlocked: A Disconnect from Reality

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In today’s hyper-connected world, our smartphones have become extensions of ourselves. Our lives are encapsulated within those small devices, from personal conversations to memorable moments captured in photos and videos. But what happens when our digital identity is compromised? “Unlocked” or “Identidad desbloqueada,” the latest Korean thriller on Netflix, explores the consequences of a hacked smartphone and the chilling control it grants over one’s life.

An Intimate Glimpse into the Dark Side of Technology

Directed by Tae-joon Kim, known for his work on “Estación Zombie 2: Península,” and based on Akira Shiga’s novel and the 2018 Japanese film “Stolen Identity,” “Unlocked” plunges us into a world that reflects our own tech-obsessed society. However, it does not take a pro-technology stance. Instead, it highlights the dangers of our smartphone dependency. Through repetitive dialogues like “You’ve been glued to your phone all day” and “Can you imagine living without it now?” the film challenges our detachment from reality.

A Thrilling Tale with Shallow Motivations

The antagonist, Jun-yeong, lacks a compelling motive, making him a one-dimensional character driven purely by evil. This undermines the depth of “Unlocked’s” story. While it is a crime thriller, the film fails to develop Na-mi, the main character, beyond being a victim. It simplistically portrays the supposed consequences of smartphone usage without delving into the complexities of our relationship with technology.

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Visual Brilliance and Screenlife Technique

“Unlocked” does shine in its visual execution, employing the screenlife technique. This narrative style, seen in movies like “Searching” and its sequel “Missing,” captures the essence of our rapidly moving social media-driven world. As the film begins, the screen of Na-mi’s smartphone bombards us with a flurry of images, videos, and reactions, perfectly encapsulating the overwhelming nature of the online realm. It’s a simple yet effective method that heightens the story’s focus on technology.

Strong Performances Amidst a Faltering Plot

Chun Woo-hee, Yim Si-wan, and Kim Hee-won deliver powerful performances in their respective roles. Kim Hee-won portrays a detective in search of the killer, who may also be his estranged son. Initially, the triptych narrative structure of “Unlocked” holds promise, offering perspectives from the victim, the perpetrator, and the investigator. However, as the film progresses, it loses balance and becomes fixated on hammering home the dangers of an essential and potentially beneficial tool in our lives.

Antiquated and Predictable

“Unlocked” falls short, feeling outdated and predictable. In a world brimming with meaningful stories that delve into the complexities of our hyper-connected reality, this film fails to offer substantial substance. It serves as yet another example of Netflix’s recent trend towards generic and forgettable productions.

“Unlocked” is now available for streaming on Netflix.

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