The Machine

"Very Good"

The Machine Review


British filmmaker Caradog James makes the most of a tiny budget with this chilling sci-fi thriller. Toying with big ideas about the repercussions of artificial intelligence, James keeps the focus on the human element, which makes it thoroughly engaging and darkly haunting. It may feel somewhat over-serious, but it also gets us thinking.

Set in the near future, the story centres on top scientist Vincent (Toby Stephens), who is hired by the Ministry of Defense to create a sentient machine that will help the West win the arms-race against China. Vincent has already perfected robotic repairs for wounded soldiers, and now begins working with sharp new assistant Ava (Arrow's Caity Lotz). But as Ava's snooping gets her in trouble, Vincent decides to combine her knowledge of programming with his technical expertise and create a thinking, feeling robot. And of course, Vincent's boss (Denis Lawson) immediately wants to put it to military use.

The film looks terrific, as writer-director James uses military imagery and a creepy underground bunker setting to build an overpowering sense of menace. So even if the script only barely cracks the surface, the characters all seem shifty and dangerous as we discover more about them. Especially the military meatheads who have had corrective brain implants and can communicate between themselves in a secret language.

In other words, we quickly get the feeling that everything could go nuts at any time. And Stephens is terrific as the one sensible person we can identify with, even as he grapples with his own internal demons. Lotz steals the show as both the feisty scientist and the machine created in her image. And Lawson is superb as always in an against-type role as a bloodthirsty warmonger.

Without much cash to work with, James adds visually inventive touches to every scene that draw us in further, holding our attention with a mesmerising dreaminess that circles in on itself to explore ideas of identity and consciousness. It's all rather murky, badly in need of some earthy, offhanded humour. But it's so stylish that we enjoy getting lost in the shadows.



The Machine

Facts and Figures

Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy

Run time: 91 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st March 2014

Distributed by: Xlrator Media

Production compaines: Red & Black Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Fresh: 22 Rotten: 6

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Caradog James

Producer: John Giwa-Amu

Starring: as Ava, as Vincent, as Thomson, as Implant Soldier Harris, as James, Sule Rimi as Dr. Giwa-Amu, as Scientist/ Soldier, Pooneh Hajimohammadi as Suri, Jonathan Byrne as Tim, Jade Croot as Mary, Helen Griffin as Mrs. Dawson, Siwan Morris as Lucy

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.