SXSW Review: Under The Influence (2022)

When Casey Neistat first sat down to interview YouTube sensation, David Dobrik, neither of them knew they were about to capture one of the most precipitous rise and falls in the history of the internet… in real-time. David, protected by the belief that he’s just a kid with a camera, has constantly assumed risks. Even as a story of a sexual assault breaks, he’s busy covering up a near-lethal accident caught on film, intended to be entertainment. In the real world, these kinds of actions have life-changing consequences, but in the gold rush ecosystem of Social Media influence, the audience decides who succeeds, and who gets banished forever. 

I heard about a David Dobrik documentary being made but I assumed that it was going to be slapped on to YouTube and that would be the end of it. So I was surprised to see it at SXSW and decided to watch it out of pure curiosity, this is pretty much the story of David Dobrik and the controversies that happened particularly what happened to Jeff Wittek and the situation involving Durte Dom. If you were going into the documentary hoping for new information you aren’t going to get any here, if you know everything that happened nothing in this documentary is going to be new maybe except a few reactions from a few people. The most interesting thing about this documentary is how the public who has no idea about this situation is going to react, will the discussion of why Dobrik walked away with his career still intact be discussed again? Will this lead to more people speaking up and coming forward? As far as filmmaking goes it’s fine, there’s really nothing noteworthy about it outside of a few shots that are pretty neat. I do think there’s a conversation to be had about how your own platform can turn you into a completely different person in a negative way, which is definitely the strongest part about the documentary. But everything else is either common knowledge or nothing very interesting, overall Under The Influence is a documentary that will be good for people who have no idea about David Dobrik not so much for people who are well knowledgeable about the subject.

Under The Influence currently has no release date.

4/10 D+

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