The year is 2040. The economy crashed decades ago, and the new generation is striving to survive. A documentary crew follows the people they call "Ghosts": those with the worst jobs, making the least money. Meet the baby makers, the human spammer, the digital janitor and the silk collectors.
There are some movies that I believe are excellent festival movies. Movies that probably could work better in the festival world than when it's released. Exactly what makes that, I don't know, but it's a feeling I get from certain movies. I've seen a few this year, such as "I Am a Ghost", "Wakey Wakey" and now "Ghosts with Shit Jobs". I guess it's because they are movies that you can hardly understand before you really get into them. You don't realize how interesting they really are, because either the concept is way out there (like with "Ghosts with Shit Jobs"), or it's just hard to capture the spirit in words ("Wakey Wakey"). These 3 movies are all easy to watch but they have a true indie concept and atmosphere that works to perfectly with crowd - when people have randomly walked into a movie, not knowing what to expect, and then get completely drawn into the strange little world in front of them. "Ghosts with Shit Jobs" is a risky move from the filmmakers. The idea and execution shouldn't really work because it's quite stupid, really. But they did it, they nailed it perfectly.
The movie is set in a near future, 2040. Our current economical crisis finally reached a bottom and we're following a couple of hard working people in the next generation. Specifically, the people in Canada that they call "Ghosts". A TV show in China is doing a special on these people, so a documentary crew has been sent out to watch their lives. This is where we meet six people with very unique jobs, and specifically low-paid, hard jobs that no one really wants - which is why they are called "Ghosts". First we're introduced to the baby makers. Their job is to build babies/baby robots and make sure they work, and especially stink, like real babies. And then they ship them off. It's a hard job because they have to deal with all the screaming and chaos that comes with babies, only with way more babies. Their dream is to make robots programmed for battle. Then we're introduced to two brothers that are silk gatherers. They gather silk spiderwebs. Not a glamorous job, but they keep positive. Or at least the goofy of the two. The other brother is getting tired of the job and his not-so-clever brother. The next man is perhaps the poorest of them all, a lonely digital janitor. He logs online and censors commercial productions from the future equivalent of Google Maps - literally painting over with blur, using a brush. In the future you log in and walk around the online world, rather than sit in front of a computer. The digital janitor is working way too long hours for almost no money, and it's taking a physical toll. Finally we have the human spammer. She's a young woman who is all business, no pleasure. Her job is to walk around a namedrop products.
As you can hear, the idea if pretty far out there. I love it when movies does that this one does. It depicts a future without really changing much, except for adding a few semi-believable details. In this case, the way they use computers and tech stuff (just touching the air). If you weren't expecting it to begin with it could take a little bit to get used to, but once you do it's just fascinating to see what this movie does. Obviously, with the jobs the "Ghosts" have, it's making fun of where we are with technology and where we are going, but there is still a lot of heart in the movie. It doesn't do it as provoking satire, but as a sweet drama. The stories that started out as bizarre and stupid, quickly becomes natural and close to home. And the characters too. The only story I couldn't get into was the baby makers, for whatever reason. It simply didn't deliver the same feelings as the other ones did. The baby makers were also the only characters I couldn't relate to or care about. Perhaps it's intended, considering where the story is heading, but for me it lowered my overall opinion slightly. Not a lot, of course.
The way all the stories connect towards the end, where the TV show presents a "where are they now?" segment where all of them meet in a cafe, was solid. I especially liked where the digital janitor and human spammer stories went from there, as they were the most likable ones. It's also not until now that we really understand why we followed these people. Before this we saw people with poor jobs and how their lives became even more poor. With the final segment we get a nice conclusion to the stories, even though there is a lot of sadness involved even there. Just a different kind of sadness, where we see them accepting where their lives went and enjoying themselves in their present.
"Ghosts with Shit Jobs" walks on a thin line between clever and stupid, and somehow it never steps into either territory. It uses the stupidity to create the future and the characters, and then it takes a very humane route with it. It doesn't try to be clever through pretentiousness or satire, but it's clever because it can use the stupidity in this manner. It also makes us relate to something as crazy as this, and I admire that. This is yet another movie that shows that the heart and soul of a drama can speak to you through any obstacles and themes. The filmmakers have done an excellent job at creating this indie sci-fi dramedy. Sweet, soft, humane and completely crazy. You'll realize that everything has NOT been done before. I can only imagine seeing this with a crowd.