Call it destiny, call it fate, call it whatever you want, the question of whether or not we as humans should know what our future has in store for us has been a hotly debated topic since there have been topics to be hotly debated. This subject is at the center of Joe McLane’s new micro-budget Life Tracker.
Filmed in faux-documentary style that I initially worried would get annoying fast—fortunately enough it doesn’t—Life Tracker seeks to examine the consequences of knowing your own fate, including who you’ll marry, how many children you’ll have, and the exact day of your death. When Life Tracker Ltd. first announces that they can map out your entire future based on a single drop of your blood and a strand of your DNA, the story is a mere blip on the 24-hour news cycle. Aspiring documentarian Dillon (Barry Finnegan) takes note, and sets out examine their outlandish claims.
Here’s the problem, Dillon is half-assed, insecure, and has zero in the way of follow through. Lucky for him he has the help of his much more successful filmmaking friend, Scott (Matt Dallas, Kyle XY), and his girlfriend, Bell (Rebecca Marshall, Saw 3D), who Dillon is not-so-secretly in love with.
After a slow start that spends a little too much time talking to random people—the acting is generally strong, except for during Dillon’s man-on-the-street interviews—Life Tracker finds a groove examining both the individual and collective psychological impacts of knowing your future. As a part of the process for their film, Dillon, Scott, and Bell all have their prints read. At the same time their results create interpersonal tension among the trio of friends, LTL creates havoc on a worldwide scale—as the documentary comes together, Life Tracker explodes on the scene. Seemingly everyone has their DNA read, but not everyone is prepared to deal with what they learn.
McLean balances these two threads with a delicate touch, telling not just the story of a group of friends, but lending a global weight to the proceedings. It allows the film to touch on the psychological impact of this knowledge on both the collective and individual psyche. What does knowing your fate do to you? Are these self-fulfilling prophecies? When you learn that you’re slated to die on a specific date, do you start looking for signs everywhere? Do you change how you live your life based on what you know? Is this too much for us to know? Are these predictions set in stone? Can you change your future? These questions and so many more are at the heart of the film, and, wisely, it doesn’t look to provide definitive answers. Instead it poses the questions—to you and the characters—provides a few distinct sample sets, and lets you come to your own conclusions.
One of the great successes of Life Tracker is the use of small, unique details to really sell the world. The company certifies “readers” to interpret the results of your test, but there is a scale. There are readers who score highly on their tests, but there are also those who don’t, and depending on what you’re willing to spend, you may or may not be getting accurate results. Dillon, Scott, and Bell can only pony up for a 64% reader, so what does that mean? Details like this allow you to accept this world, but also create a sense of unreality. Maybe this is science, but maybe this a cash grab or publicity stunt. It’s enough to unnerve you, to make you wary, but not concrete enough to convince everyone. There is a lot of grey area.
Though it does feel a little long, Life Tracker is definitely a movie to check out. Sci-fi with a unique approach, horror in a nontraditional genre sense, this has a cool hook, and doesn’t shy away from big moral questions, ideas of fate and destiny, as well examining more personal notions of friendship and relationships.
Life Tracker is now available via a variety of streaming services. Click HERE for a list. It’s it certainly worth the effort to find.