#TAKEMEANYWHERE (USA, 43 min)

Directed by: Shia Labeouf, Luke Turner, Nastja Rönkkö

In mid-2016, LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner embarked on a month-long project to hitchhike the internet, in an artwork commissioned by Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and the Finnish Institute in London.

Each day, the trio posted their coordinates online and waited for a ride. Whoever then appeared could take them anywhere they chose.

For the duration of the project, their journey could be tracked in real time at http://take-me-anywhere.net, with their path entirely in the hands of the public.

Review:

by Sungwoo Park

#TAKEMEANYWHERE, a short documentary by the creative trio of LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner, chronicles the group’s journey as they hitchhike their way across the continental U.S. and Canada. Throughout the course of the month-long experiment, the trio periodically shared their location online using GPS coordinates, then waited for strangers to come pick them up and to ‘take them anywhere’. In their adventures, the filmmakers traverse from the mountains of Colorado to the deserts of the Southwest, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Midwest and the East Coast, before finally ending in Alaska. They go diving off cliffs, video chat with strangers’ families, visit a miniature pig farm, and fire a loaded pistol out of a car.

Part social experiment and part performative art, #TAKEMEANYWHERE is a deeply personal and heartfelt exploration of human connections. But it also is a conscious rejection of the cynicism and suspicion that have come to characterize the times that we live in. Particularly in the filmmakers use of the internet as a tool to draw people together, it serves to counteract the increasingly polarizing and dehumanizing culture of the web.

Much of the imagery that make up the film is evocative, and captures the raw and diverse beauty of the North American wilderness. But while the visual language of #TAKEMEANYWHERE seems at times reminiscent of a romantic, escapist longing, the film's message is not one of a desire to escape from humanity, but to deliberately seek it out and to embrace it. The movie is ultimately not about the filmmakers themselves, but about the people that they meet along the way - and the bulk of the film is devoted to depicting the experiences that LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner share with them, and in relaying the stories of their lives. In this, #TAKEMEANYWHERE not only manages to inspire a sense freedom, but to also relay its firm conviction in the inherent importance and the goodness of seemingly ordinary people.

#TAKEMEANYWHERE is a 2018 Official Selection of the NYC Independent Film Festival