is a second Cold War on and China is winning.
Britain’s defense establishment is convinced their only hope lies in
devising killer androids enhanced with artificial intelligence. Oh, but perhaps they succeed too well in
Caradog James’ The Machine (clip here), which screens as
a Midnight selection of the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival.
McCarthy could make bank in the private sector, but he has personal reasons for
laboring in a subterranean government facility somewhere in Wales. When Ava’s AI program comes darn close to
passing the Turing Test, he recruits her for his double-secret research. However, on her very first day she cannot
help noticing the dodginess of the place, particularly the guards, who double
as guinea pigs. There seems to be something
weirdly unspoken going on with the twitchy veterans who accepted AI implants to
counteract their brain trauma.
Ava is murdered under suspiciously suspicious circumstances, her pre-mapped
brain is imprinted on “The Machine.”
McCarthy coaches her/it to be human and humane, but Thompson, the
ruthless project director, orders a battery of more lethal instructions. This leads to conflict.
would be nice to see a film that considered the British and American military
and intelligence services to be the good guys for a change, especially compared
to the oppressive and increasingly militaristic Communist regime in China. Sadly, The
Machine is not that film. There
really ought to be an epilogue showing how China enslaves the world because of the
resulting setbacks to the Free World’s R&D.
Instead, we just get Messianic themes warmed over from the Universal Soldier franchise, which in
turn were cribbed from Metropolis, R.U.R. and a host of apocalyptically
promethean science fiction morality tales.
Caity Lotz earns favorable notice for her dual role as Ava and The
Machine. She presents two distinct
personas, yet still credibly hints at connections between the two. Toby Stephens works well enough as the
brilliant but short sighted McCarthy.
Sadly, Star Wars alumnus Denis
“Wedge” Lawson is completely wasted as the dastardly Thompson, who seems to
engage in unnecessary villainy solely to precipitate McCarthy’s crisis of
Very little of The Machine makes sense, starting with the moody Miami Vice ambiance. One would think a research laboratory ought
to be well lit, but evidently this is not the case. Despite Lotz’s interesting performances, The Machine is predictable and
heavy-handed. A disappointment, it
screens again tonight (4/27) as part of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.
Labels: Caity Lotz, Denis Lawson, Sci-Fi films, Tribeca '13