According to a brilliant new short film, death is the ultimate data dump.
In “The Answers,” which has just debuted online after appearing at several film festivals, it’s not your pets or lost loves that you want to see immediately after dying–it’s the cold, hard, objective facts about the life you just left behind.
Our hero, Nathan, who is played by Daniel Lissing, comes to in the pure white nothingness that’s become cinematic shorthand for heaven. The question of what time it is brings about the image of a smattering of clocks. Suddenly, it’s clear what has happened. Further questions reveal fragmented glimpses of Nathan’s life, including one of the car accident that ended it. He is understandably bummed about all this, until he realizes that he can now find out absolutely anything about his life.
The sly premise of “The Answers” is that all the things we never could have known on Earth become instantly indexable, and but a cosmic, God’s Eye-Google away, after we die. From the identity of our childhood bike thieves to the location of the buried treasure we came closest to stumbling upon, to the absolute drunkest we ever got, it’s all waiting for discovery. Beyond reliving cherished moments and settling old scores, though, the star of this film gets caught up in the raw data of it all. The number of times he’s masturbated, the number of high-fives he’s given–it’s all available.
Created by filmmaker Michael Goode, “The Answers” is like a stoned dorm-room thought experiment explored to its fullest potential and brought to bracing life. If there’s any justice, it will have a robust afterlife beyond the festival circuit.