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'Plato's Reality Machine' spins unsatisfying vignettes

'Plato's Reality Machine' spins unsatisfying vignettes
Trieste Kelly Dunn as Zoe and Ed Renninger as Scott in the movie "Plato's Reality Machine," directed by Myles Sorensen. (An earlier version of this post mistakenly identified the actress as Silvana Jakich as Crystal.) (Poison Door Productions)

Of the interconnected characters and intersecting stories that form "Plato's Reality Machine," the most captivating actually involve a role-playing video game being piloted by the protagonist, Charles (Doug Roland), as his alter ego tries to shoot his way into the cockpit of a spaceship to drive it back home.

The film's other vignettes hardly hold any interest. In between gaming, Charles squeezes in a one-night stand with Kim (Heather Shisler), who was propositioned unsuccessfully by Charlie's pal Scott (Ed Renninger).

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As with reality television, characters in the film provide testimonials commenting on the proceedings. But it's not clear if what we're watching is indeed part of a fictionalized TV program, or if writer-director Myles Sorensen simply chose not to compose contextual conversations.

It's not that the film doesn't have its moments. One particular scene that stands out has Scott and stripper Zoe (Trieste Kelly Dunn) trading verbal jabs at each other's failed professional aspirations during a botched lap dance. But none of the episodes crescendo to a climax, and the narrative involving Charles' video game is the only one that exhibits any progression or consequence.

"Plato's Reality Machine."

No MPAA rating.

Running time: 1 hour, 19 minutes.

Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood. Also on VOD.

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