Third viewing, and it’s pretty much settled that this is in a virtual three-way tie with Synecdoche, NY and The Swamp for ‘Best debut film of the millennium’. Strangely enough, I don’t find myself raving about Campos that much, and I can’t say I’m salivating to see where he goes from here (not to say I’m not very much looking forward to Simon Killer, which was passed up by TIFF, will be premiering at Sundance in January, and is apparently very good). It’s just that what he pulled off here feels like it’s beside pure talent – like a miracle happened that allowed a lot of superb ideas to coalesce and be creepy as hell. This feeling is almost certainly a product of my never being all that impressed with any individual element of its production (the direction, performances, and script hardly stand out as ‘masterful’); it’s more that I think Campos has an exemplary understanding of where we are, technologically, as a society – more so than almost any artist working in any medium right now. Frankly, I’d probably more enjoy having a three-hour conversation with him than seeing whatever film he does next. The moment that stood out to me the most this time, and is a good example of a scene that I don’t think is in any way ‘amazing’, but resonates entirely as an idea, is when – near the beginning – Rob is in the bathroom playing with the motion-activated faucet. He waves his hand beneath the little laser, water comes out, and he then drenches his head in the water, perhaps to make up for the loss of touch required to release the water. It sets up his autistic persona, yes, but more, it underlines the depreciation of haptic experiences in the developed world. As a film about ‘feeling’, or really the lack thereof, it’s a potent, almost dystopian, moment. Maybe Campos is a genius for throwing in something like this, but it seems more like the kind of smarts that I wouldn’t necessarily associate with ‘gifted’ filmmaking. I hope Simon Killer proves me wrong.