‘Glitch: The Rise & Fall of HQ Trivia’ Review: Grandiose Pursuits

“Glitch: The Rise & Fall of HQ Trivia,” by the director Salima Koroma, seems at first glance like many other recent rise-and-fall narratives, which usually describe, in sensational terms, the hubristic ascent and Icarian plunge of Silicon Valley start-ups, social media platforms, cellphone manufacturers and even video game developers.

The story of HQ Trivia, the short-lived smartphone quiz game that captured the popular imagination for about six months starting in the winter of 2017, does share a few superficial similarities with “The Social Network” and this year’s superb “Blackberry,” namely the interpersonal friction that arose between HQ’s co-founders — Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll, who died of a drug overdose in December 2018 — along with the usual corporate infighting, financial drama and callow jockeying for power that have become hallmarks of the genre. Big egos clashed; fortunes swelled and vanished. And all of it, to an outside observer, has the lurid thrill of a real-life “Game of Thrones.”

But the documentary “Glitch” is slyer and smarter than some of its paint-by-numbers dramatized contemporaries, and the story it prefers to tell is more interesting and complex than the battle of two domineering egoists who came up with a novelty app. Koroma shrewdly situates HQ in several interlocking contexts, from the history of the television game show to the long-evolving landscape of social media and mobile video streaming. She understands that this live trivia app aspired to nothing less than a revolution in broadcasting, and she makes a compelling case for seeing its achievements (and its potential) in that light.

She also gets a lot of intellectual mileage out of a bevy of insightful and entertaining talking heads, particularly the journalist Taylor Lorenz, a former New York Times reporter who relates the bizarre controversy surrounding the publication of an HQ-related puff piece with mordant glee, and the former HQ host Scott Rogowsky, whose off-kilter charisma and almost old-fashioned showman’s patter are as enjoyable here as they were when he was the app’s beloved star. In the end, the documentary strikes a bemused tone that fits its strange and oddly delightful subject, perfectly encapsulated by Rogowsky’s cutting last remarks: “Oh — that all actually happened.”

Glitch: The Rise & Fall of HQ Trivia
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 29 minutes. Watch on Max.

Glitch: The Rise & Fall of HQ Trivia

When you purchase a ticket for an independently reviewed film through our site, we earn an affiliate commission.

Movie data powered by IMDb.com

Source: Read Full Article