SXSW Film

Interviews and reviews

High Score

D: Jeremy Mack

I dreamt as an arcade-going youngster of being so masterful at a game that one quarter would last me days. As an adult, those dreams have not only faded but ring masochistic. Not so for Portland, Ore.'s Bill Carlton, who attempts to break the 80-million-point all-time high score on Missile Command. Eighty million points takes a real pro a little more than two days ... straight. And while Carlton scores millions of points (the machine rolls over to zero after 1 million points) effortlessly, a lot can go wrong in two days. Director Mack depicts Carlton as a well-rounded guy – girlfriend, job, apartment – but one can't help but notice that during a meal break from a marathon Missile Command training session Carlton eats at the bar's touch-screen game machine. Mack's simple and sometimes humorous direction keeps you wondering on which side of the obsessive/determined line Carlton sits, but also sets you up for a stunning finale that arguably makes any faults in the film worth it.

High Score received the Emerging Visions Audience Award.

7pm, Dobie

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