Starring Kelly Spilchak, Rachel MacMillan. Written by Jim Munroe. Directed by Chris McCawley, Jim Morrison, Jim Munroe, Tate Young. 94 min. Screens May 30, 7 p.m. at the Royal.
As much as we want the Toronto of the future to look like the one in Total Recall, chances are we will never get to ride in flying cars with Jessica Biel. In fact, the Toronto of 2040 may be a lot more like the version we get in Ghosts With Shit Jobs, a humbler sort of science-fiction epic that makes its local premiere at the Royal this week before starting a Kickstarter-sponsored screening tour.
According to this vision of things to come—masterminded by writer and indie-culture maven Jim Munroe and executed by a volunteer cast and crew—we can look forward to doing the jobs no one else in the world wants to do. Structured as a documentary for Chinese television (hence the title, “ghosts” being Cantonese slang for white folks), Ghosts With Shit Jobs introduces viewers to such workers as two robotics engineers who build alarmingly life-like babies for the foreign market, two brothers who risk life and limb collecting silk from the giant mutant spiders, and a woman who interjects names of products into casual conversation as part of her career as “human spam.”
Like Munroe’s 2007 project, Infest Wisely, this DIY piece of “lo-fi sci-fi” is driven more by its concepts than any flashy FX. As a satire on the reversing fortunes of west and east and the disparity between the digital age’s haves and have-nots, the film has considerable bite—at its best, it’s Minority Report as drawn by Bruce McCall. And while the richness of the ideas isn’t always enough to compensate for the movie’s variable quality in other regards, this snarky look at Toronto’s potential future is as endearing as it is worrying.