iBoy (2017) is a deeply complex and emotional film – a science fiction teen thriller – but what do you see when you look at it through a different filter?
I was deceived by the simple and childish title of the film with its co-opting of the ubiquitous “i” which is perhaps already outdated in our digital age. In fact, I would not have given it a second glance except on the recommendation of my wife.
Instead, I was greeted with a well-made British thriller with a relatively simple premise. When visiting a girl he likes, teen, Tom, interrupts her rape by masked assailants.
While fleeing the attackers and trying to dial police, he is shot and parts of his phone plunge deep into his brain. He wakes in the hospital and slowly learns that he now has the ability to wirelessly control electronics with his mind. His power grows, but so does his desire for revenge.
Let me pause here to state that this film may be a trigger for some, but it does avoid any attempts to glorify or exploit rape for visual thrills, though I encourage you to carefully decide this for yourself.
Look deeper. Change your glasses. Take a few moments to think.
What this movie really does is showcases the way men use violence and power to control others – and it’s made extremely poignant thanks to Maisie Williams’ keen performance.
In the film’s most powerful scene, there is no science fiction action. There is no crime or revenge. There is simply a girl venturing for the first time from her apartment after being raped, and her near collapse when she is passed by two otherwise unimportant young men on the street.
In that simple scene is represented the struggle and terror that should never be felt by anyone.
iBoy is not a movie for children, but I encourage thinking teens and adults to watch it twice. Watch it first for the solid and entertaining film that it is.
Then watch it again, but through colored glasses.
Now keep those glasses on and look at the world around you.
- Hollywood’s rape culture is an extension of our culture by Melissa Silverstein on theguardian
- thisiswhatitfeelslike by Terra Lopez