In Emma Needell’s short film, Life Rendered, a young man embraces his true self in virtual reality.
Mark Redman (Owen Teague) lives a dual life. By day, he takes care of his disabled father (Luce Rains) on his family farm in Colorado, who relies on him to do all the chores until his father is fitted with a prophetic leg.
At night, Mark lies in bed, escaping to a virtual reality world he created where he finds comfort and peace. In this VR world, Mark (aka Orion) meets an anonymous man, Kane (Armen Taylor), who is instantly impressed with the world Orion created, and a spark of romance is ignited.
“At night, Mark lies in bed, escaping to a virtual reality world he created where he finds comfort and peace.”
The film’s use of VR is the perfect allegory for Mark’s inner turmoil. Life Rendered cleverly tells the story of a man caught between two worlds…the dream he wants to live and the reality he’s trapped in. Mark is forced to hide his sexual orientation from his father and believes Virtual Reality is the safest place to express it…until it isn’t.
Mark soon learns that his VR world is not as idyllic as he thought, and, of course, secrets never stay secrets in drama. As Mark, Owen Teague gives a nuanced performance about a man holding his house-of-cards life together and gives a heartfelt emotional performance. It would expressly point to the moment Mark realizes his secret has been revealed. This realization is played out in Teague’s physicality and without words.
It’s impressive how Virtual Reality is used in Life Rendered to tell a story about accepting one’s true self and the importance of being able to express one’s true self.