Destiny reveals the downsides of online dating, the ability to make snap judgements on a swipe and then discard the individual, blocking them entirely from your life if they aren’t completely tailored to your liking.

They have been on two dates, yet Derek (Bhupendra Singh Jadawat) calls it off with Tanya (Nikita Vijayvargia) because ‘I don’t see myself marrying you’.

That’s a lot of pressure from two dates! Is this the world of immediate online connection that we live in – the need to impress so intensely, to feel so emotionally connected with another person after such a concentrated time, that we can see marriage with them instantly? Vikkramm Chandirramani’s opening to Destiny certainly suggests so. But, if Derek is too quick to judge, exhibiting the typically male excuses for blowing off and ghosting Tanya, then her reaction is equally extreme – the decision to catfish Derek with her friend (Monika Panwar).

Destiny reveals the downsides of online dating, the ability to make snap judgements on a swipe and then discard the individual, blocking them entirely from your life if they aren’t completely tailored to your liking. The toxicity is self-perpetuating, as Chandirramani highlights by Tanya’s protracted reactive strategy. As a short, this is an apt commentary on how being so caught up in seeking revenge can ultimately backfire and produce nought but empty satisfaction.

Yet while the concept is sound, Destiny’s narrative is itself too drawn out. The first half of the film is the rejection, the second half the revenge – it feels as though Chandirramani plays for time to eke out the script. As a viewer, we can appreciate the extent of Tanya’s plan to get her own back on the scorning party without seeing it realised in full detail – we don’t require such continued exposition. There are some potentially insightful and clever topics that are sacrificed in this short because of such a focus – we skip over a discussion about the inability of a man to be decisive (‘And when some guy says, “Let’s talk later”, it really pisses me off. When is “later”?’); we breeze past the modern age’s version of sending someone to Coventry, ghosting. Chandirramani’s vision lacks breadth and finesse.

The same can be said of the Destiny cast. None of the three core actors – Vijayvargia, Panwar and Jadawat – are convincing or persuasive in their characterisation. They play to camera and their reactions are clear, but there is something lacking beneath the surface – the emotion is portrayed yet unconvincingly felt. Like a digital profile, these performers are reticent to reveal their true selves, hiding instead behind their outward projections, the ones that we plaster over the internet to convince people our lives are more glamorous, more exciting, than the reality indicates.

Neither party in this tryst is perfect – both act unacceptably and somewhat cowardly. Chandirramani sketches a reality of dating today, a whole new set of pitfalls that we need to learn to navigate with common decency and integrity. Yet Destiny falls into a different trap, one that tells without showing, one that lacks depth and complexity.

★★☆☆☆

Destiny won ‘Best Comedy Film’ at the UK Monthly Film Festival and will be screened in England on June 17, 2018.