Collector’s Protocol is set in a dystopian world where the wealthy one per cent live in a protected city, while the remaining ninety-nine per cent are categorised into labour, organisation or, most disturbingly, food. Victims of the cannibalistic collectors are branded as ‘delicates’ and live under the constant threat of having their heart torn out by a brutal machine. The storyline follows Daniel Spence, a delicate who seems to have escaped to an underground bunker. Armed only with a camera and several cans of beans, he records his training to join the IPE, a group of courageous rebels who fight against their oppressors.
If this all sounds a bit complicated to be squeezed into twelve minutes, it is. Although Daniel’s unimaginable trauma is effective to some extent, the terrifying themes need more exploration in order to have a more significant impact. It may have been interesting to know how this malignant one per cent came to power, or perhaps see how the relationships between members of different categories pan out.
The shaky camera style works well to convey the complete chaos both inside and outside of the bunker, and also makes for an engaging opening scene. Daniel’s initial failed attempts to start talking are also successful in communicating the horror that he has been through. However, the shortness of the film and some slightly unconvincing acting make it difficult to fully get on his side.
This film has the potential to be a searing reflection of current inequalities in our social reality. With some further story development and more in-depth characterisation, Collector’s Protocol would be a strong contender in the genre of disturbing dystopias.
'Collector's Protocol' was a film in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2019.