THE MACHINE (2013)
Written and directed by Caradog W. James
Screened at Grimmfest 2013
In Cinemas/VOD 21 March and DVD/Blu-Ray 31 March 2014
THE MACHINE – Film Premiere tickets: Weds 19 March 8.30pm, VUE Piccadillly
Computer programmer Ava applies for a grant to help her succeed in creating sentient artificial intelligence but instead ends up working alongside fellow programmer Vincent to collaborate on a project for the MoD, in a bid to help create negotiator and peace-keeping robots to protect civilians during war. After a tragic set of events that sees Ava fatally wounded, Vincent continues their research alone, creating a cyborg they’d been working on, modelled on the likeness of, and featuring the voice of, Ava. With his ultimate goal in helping humanity and trying to find a cure for his brain-damaged daughter, Vincent attempts to educate the machine in a postive way to do good in the world, but watching from the wings is MoD chief Thomson who has better plans for the AI – weaponising it to aid the West in the Cold War against China.
Caradog James brings to life The Machine in a fresh, exciting take on the relationship between humans and artificial intelligence and that line between them both that might see the created more powerful than the creator. James does this in such an emotional way as his main character Vincent works for MoD purely for funding his AI research to aid his sick daughter. With the help of Ava, they can both reach their goals, but their research hasn’t been overlooked by a certain head honcho who has devious plans for what they are about to create.
Toby Stephens stars as scientist Vincent, who’s lifes work is the machine, in which he pours his heart and soul into. Actress Caity Lotz stars as scientist Ava and subsequently the machine woman. Her two roles are so unique and Caity convinces with her portrayal of an innocent cyborg who’s knowledge about the world is at the hands of her creators. Caity’s talent as a dancer and martial artist are used terrifically well too to show both her gentle yet deadly sides.
Whilst there’s no groundbreaking twists or surprises in the film, it is quite an emotional journey from start to finish, for Vincent, the Machine and the injured soldiers kept prisoner at the MoD. James does a great job at shooting the film in such a way that will pull at your heart strings, though it is Lotz who steals the show with her inspiring, powerful performance as the Machine. She is the shining ray of light in what is a dark and twisted universe, and she is Vincent’s only hope.
Very rarely these days do you find a film that can tackle the sci-fi genre of artificial intelligence and for it to have some an edge that makes you sit up and listen. The Machine is definitely one of the best sci-fi flicks of this decade, with its attention to the emotional side as well as the technology aspect, and a nice dose of combat action to boot!