Member (2001)

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Synopsis by Sarah Sloboda

Josh Hartnett stars in the poetic short piece Member, about a young man's struggle to "make it." The film serves as a commentary on the definition of "making it," as Hartnett's character drives around Los Angeles trying to rig the perfect accident with which to commit insurance fraud and thus claim his righteous fortune. While driving around, he expresses contempt for those who have doubted him by threatening to find the right car, and strategically crash into it in a way that he is not "technically" in the wrong. Meanwhile, his monologue, and passengers who appear and disappear in an almost dreamlike fashion, reveal his own criticism of the effects society has had on him, causing his need to conform and to measure success by an undefined outside standard. Written and directed by film editor David Brooks, Member is loaded with digital effects and fast-paced cutting to create a highly charged, energetic film. It throws light onto the doubts surrounding media-related things taken for granted like what's on TV, what to buy, what to wear, and what to drive. Brooks' psychological commentary on a media-based reality screened at the Gen Art Film Festival, as well as numerous other festivals, in 2002.