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  • I thought this film was beautiful - the use of special effects were stunning and were utilised in a clever way that added to the atmosphere rather than overshadowing the plot.

    The Machine is an interesting, dark sci-fi that focuses on character and mood rather than flashy guns and action scenes. I heard it described as a kind of prequel to Bladerunner, and agree this could be true. It has a good script with unexpected plot turns and no excessive dialogue. The delicacy it deals with with issues of loss and mourning was great.

    It is a new take on the classic Frankenstein story, is beautifully shot, and was an entertaining film to watch at Tribeca this year.
  • This is a perfect example that exceptional movies can be made on a low budget and without an all-star Hollywood cast. No abundance of explosions or unnecessary splatter here either but the film remains thrilling and captivating throughout.

    I dare say the script is not completely original (but lets face it, what is completely new these days?) and it has strong connections with many gems of the genre. Some mentioned "blade runner", "ghost in the shell" is the first that comes to my mind. It is rather obvious to me that whoever directed this has studied the sci-fi anime genre thoroughly and adopted the style perfectly to the norms and limitations of a conventional acted film.

    The performances of the leading actors are exemplary and together with all the supporting roles and the rather modest movie settings, they create a very believable world where the viewer can immerse himself. All the parts come together very well and lift this film from potential mediocrity to the status of visual poetry.

    Productions such as these, both emotionally and philosophically engaging, renew my faith in the artistry of film-making. Congratulations are in order for the director James Caradog!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It is such a relief to see an honest to god B-movie these days. A film with a somewhat flawed script, limited budget, tons of vision and the balls to take itself seriously.

    The machine is about a future where elite scientists are able to re-animate the dead into powerful robot bodies, or graft advanced thought-controlled prosthetics onto the living. The robot's intelligence is the final hurdle, trying to make a subject that is both intelligent and entirely controllable. One of our protagonists is a scientist hoping to bring back his daughter as a machine. He's working with a mysterious corporation to achieve that goal. The rest of the movie is the movie.

    If this sounds like a cheesy predictable premise, it is. But many many productions would take this story and do far less with it.

    The Machine understands why Sci-fi was so vivid and memorable in the 70's and 80's, it's about art. Bold, heavily featured, skillfully realized art design-much of which here is brought to life through skillful practical effects. It really shows. Things feel real. Sets feel real, violence feels real, CGI is used well and, as the case should always be, doesn't draw undue attention to itself. It also has a fantastic synth-score that gets that synth-scores weren't great because they were cheesy, they were great because they were cold, otherworldly and isolating. Also that the good ones kicked ass.

    In the final act, the Machine does what B-genre films do and turned into a gun-fight; but who cares, I'd already seen a good film.

    I'm not sure what it was trying to say about artificial intelligence. It was sort of about innocence and sort of about man's inhumanity to man, sort of about procreation and creation. In the end it was mostly about kicking and punching. But it doesn't really matter if a movie wraps things up in a neat package. As long as it presents a premise, gives that premise a little room to breathe, and presents you with bold iconic imagery, I'm in.
  • For a movie made under a small budget, this was a thoroughly enjoyable movie with some interesting thoughts on AI and what may ultimately serve to differentiate humans and machines. I found the acting to be superb. Toby Stephens did a good job of handling his role without too much angst. Caity Lotz played two separate roles as the scientist (Ava) and the machine. The machine character evolves from a developing child to a bad ass machine. If you watch the movie more than once, you will notice the subtle changes as the character develops I was impressed to learn that she did all of her own stunts! Pooneh H is the director's wife and did a good job as a menacing guard and her Farsi served as the language of the robots. Dennis Lawson was also quite good as the villain.

    There are 34 external reviews also listed for this movie and I found them helpful in giving a more comprehensive (and in many cases, a more sophisticated) review of the movie. Although I wholeheartedly recommend this movie, it couldn't hurt to get a bigger sampling of reviews if you have any questions.
  • The Machine is a rather successful attempt at implementing hard science fiction tendencies with a cyberpunk aesthetic. It may not be particularly adroit in terms of human and AI relationships, but I appreciate the rigor of the scientific explanation for the artificial intelligence. The film really excels at this in the beginning when Vincent conducts his own Turing tests as part of a secret headhunting operation. Then as he meets Ava things start taking a problematic turn. The military-industrial complex is invoked, but its purpose is sort of shadowy and never is contextualized in a way that would make the narrative more coherent.

    The questioning of human identity is the strongest point of the film, but I suppose that, at the very core, this film was more interested in being a thriller, rather than an exploration of the philosophical concepts.
  • A.I. usually comes in four standard flavors:

    1.) The program that resides in a singular non-robotic machine or device such as HAL in Space Odyssey.

    2.) The ubiquitous program that infiltrates every computer related device on a network such as Skynet or the Matrix.

    3.) The A.I. that inhabits a robot that is obviously a machine like Johnny 5 in Short Circuit or Chappie.

    4.) The A.I. that inhabits an android type body of which is virtually indistinguishable from a human like D.A.R.Y.L., David from A.I., or the androids in Blade Runner.

    The Machine is of the fourth type. The vessel was a very attractive female that was patterned after her creator, Ava (Caity Lotz). She was just robotic enough in her movements, gestures and speech to know she wasn't real, but still human enough to question your feelings about her.

    This movie was dark, both literally and figuratively. I don't think there was any sun shown until the very end. The Machine (meaning the movie because the android was simply called Machine as well) had a mysterious element to it as is usually the case when governments are involved. The government wanted a weapon and Dr. Vincent McCarthy, the lead scientist for the government project, wanted something entirely different. The two parties clash in a violent way.

    This is not one of my favorite A.I. movies but it is done pretty well. They never introduced a truly unique perspective on the topic so it didn't move the scales much. The acting was passable as were the special effects so I'd say the movie was between OK and good, leaning more towards good.
  • I very much enjoyed this. There's nothing particularly novel about the story line, which is a standard AI old chestnut about what happens when AIs start getting rambunctious. But the script is literate, the leads quite attractive (especially Dennis Lawson as a baddie), the direction sharp, and the photography brilliant, so it's all eminently watchable. Caity Lotz in particular is a revelation--she's great. Plus there's the fun wrinkle of watching the AI soldiers troop around, as it were, speaking their own language, wondering what they're saying (although as the film goes on it starts becoming clear). Predictable, but in a good way.
  • In 2015, I wrote a review of Alex Garland movie Ex Machina. The Machine came out in 2014 but I discovered it only recently. That raises some questions. More than my oversight this could be blamed on the Hollywood bias which is basically a function of the marketing budget. Alicia Vikander appeared on Conan to promote Ex Machina. No one talked about The Machine in big media.

    As reviewer my intention is mostly to get people to watch the movies that I feel should be watched. I usually don't write critiques but I had to criticize Ex Machina. I saw through the deception of calling it a groundbreaking low budget science fiction film. Well, The Machine was made on a fraction of that budget but is immensely more enjoyable. Others may argue that the plots of these two movies take different directions. However, I insist that there are significant similarities. The Machine came out a year before Ex Machina so obviously it is more original but that's not giving enough credit to writer/director Caradog James.

    Cinema is a medium and you can judge a movie by three factors: Plausibility of the plot, Handling of the Subject Matter and Entertainment Value. The Machine is a superior film in all three cases. The environment in which the story takes place in The Machine is more likely for such AI R&D to take place making it more plausible. It does not try to educate the viewer with unnecessary exposition and delves right into the plot like a pro sci-fi story. Its no rehashed Frankenstein either. Instead of blatantly feeding on the horror of AI taking over the world, it gives enough reason to embrace the future. It dares to question whether we should be fearful of our own creation or try to guide it to become truly better than us. Lastly, in the third act it turns into an all out action movie with lots of kicking, stabbing, shooting. What's not to like!?

    The music score and the visual tone reminded me a bit of Blade Runner. There is probably more to it but I can't elaborate without giving out spoilers. I am in love with Caity Lotz from her roles in the Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow. She has some phenomenal physical prowess and acumen for pulling off action films on her own. I'm putting it in the list of movies that deserve a sequel. Maybe they can turn it into a franchise and Lotz can return in her role. The Machine is funny at times but comes out as pretty badass at the end. While, the viewer never stops feeling sympathetic toward her. In a way The Machine 'tricks' everyone to see her as human. I say that passes the Turing test! Watch it and decide for yourself.
  • J-bot621 April 2016
    Warning: Spoilers
    I actually enjoyed this film more than I thought I would, although the first half-hour didn't really work on me. I could see the low-budget in the initial shots. Because of this, I wasn't fully paying attention. However, I kept finding that I needed to keep rewinding to check out what I missed since the plot was actually moving along quite fast.

    Then at about the half-hour point, this movie really captured and kept my attention throughout. I really like the acting and the way the lead actress moved (including her dance and combat movements).

    As for scenes, the interior shots were set up well. The dark lighting was really effective and the eye glows worked very well. Editing was actually pretty quick and the story was compelling. I was actually concerned for the characters (which doesn't seem to happen for me very often in movies today).

    One of the real standouts is the visual effects work. It's phenomenal (especially considering the low budget). The intro credits look fantastic, the robot-creation sequence is just amazing, and the glow effect on the robot was pretty phenomenal. I have a feeling that the VFX teams did some serious overtime on this one. I also suspect the effects houses didn't make much on this production although I suspect the shots they did will make great portfolio material.

    If I had a qualm with this movie, it's the soundtrack. On one hand, it uses very cool CS80 sounds, similar to Blade Runner. Unfortunately the shots that used this instrument didn't have the 'weight' to warrant that sound. Believe me, I love that synth, but it needs to be used strategically. Then there's the other style of music which is typical of movies like Her or Ex Machina. I didn't think that score worked particularly well either. Perhaps something in-between the two styles would have worked better. The Blade Runner style was more mysterious and haunting than this film's presentation and the more modern score was too light and nondescript for the shots it was attached to. Regardless, there were sections of music that did work nicely. I seem to recall the music near the end of the film being spot-on.

    In general, this is a film that I can recommend to people who like science fiction and the topic of A.I., androids, cyborgs, etc.... It's actually quite a thoughtful film. Interestingly, I found that I prefer this movie over both Her and Ex Machina.
  • The premise or the science fiction genre as a whole presents many pitfalls incautious screenwriters may fall into, I think. This movie avoids said pitfalls elegantly. I watched this movie without having read much about it and I urge you to do the same. Caity Lotz really shines as the character Ada and I had only seen Toby Stephens in the movie Severance previous to this one. I love it when filmmakers know that the role of Main Character, Hero and Protagonist can be defined by multiple characters in the story. Speaking of the characters of the plot, they are all well written and have motives that are believable, which is imperative to make the movie believable. It's easy to see the love the makers of this film has for the genre and they treat it with respect and great care. I see elements from many of my favorite sci-fi movies and TV-series (Bladerunner, The Matrix, Terminator, Ghost in the Shell and Ergo Proxy to name a few...) not to mention much from some really great science fiction literature out there. I'd love to discuss the plot deeper but I will not as I don't want to impair your viewing pleasure. Now go and watch it.
  • This film was amazing very thought provoking and enjoyable to watch. As it was an independent film I feel it is worth of more praise.

    If you like Sci-Fi thriller type films you will not be disappointed. I felt it was very well directed and cast excellently. The story is very innovative in my opinion and it made me think about how people would really react in a world like that. I believe the film perfectly depicts how humans exploit their environment and creations.

    I thought that Caity Lotz' performance was particularly excellent, I feel she acted a human in a robotic body very well. Her mannerisms were very machine like with the added flair of humanity. The facial expressions she uses are very mechanical but still show feeling, which is how I imagine a machine learning how to become more human would act.

    This is my first ever review so that shows how much I enjoyed it, and this is only my opinion so you should go see it your self so you can make your own judgment. Well done to everyone involved in the film I want to see more films like this. Thank you for reading.
  • I just wanted to say to anyone that was thinking... hmmm... is it worth spending the 90 min to watch, I would say, Yes. It was actually better than I thought it would be. So many movies now a days are just simply painful, it is no wonder they are remaking every thing in sight. Can't Hollywood come up with something original. I mean are vampires and zombies the only thing you can come up with???

    This movie make me think of the movie - Her. Not only is it similar in subject matter, it also has some shared weaknesses.

    However, while both of these movies have there problems, some plot holes and such, they also have some good things as well. They have surprises, they have some unexpected, they have some good camera work and especially this one has some good special effects.

    These two also have something in common that most robot movies do not have. But, if I told you what it was, it may spoil the movies.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I can't get anywhere without my GPS. I'm told that I am "directionally challenged." I depend on my cell phone for so much that I could be accused leaving normal functions to wires and microchips. When I get home, I spend a majority of my time on the computer. I don't think I'm alone. This is the landscape of the 21st century, and I suspect that I am not alone in the opinion that we are less than five years away from the development of computers that can think for themselves. Will I be so dependent then? Having seen Caradog James' effective science fiction thriller The Machine, I have reason to think not.

    The movie takes place in a time and place that it becoming so standard that it is beginning to get tiresome – the dystopian not-too-distant future. An opening title informs us that the western world has been embroiled in a cold war with China so severe that it has pushed this hemisphere into a non-stop economic depression. The new space race is the arena of artificial intelligence. Our focus falls on a hunky British scientist named Dr. Vincent McCarthy (Toby Stephens), a dedicated man whose work in the field has yielded some complications, test-wise. He pushes forward in the technology without giving much thought to the moral implications of what he is working on.

    The failures put the good doctor on edge. His research seems to be at a stand-still. Then he meets Ava, a scientist who has developed a computer that can teach itself through conversations it has with human beings. With McCarthy's body structure and Ava's artificial brain, they could be magic together. Unfortunately, the government isn't interested in magic, they want – not surprisingly – a super soldier.

    Ava eventually experiences a fate worse than death. In its wake, Vincent steals her likeness and turns it into his machine. What follows is not exactly groundbreaking but is at least asking fundamental questions about the moral nature of the science itself. For example, if Dr. Vincent is able to save brain damaged soldiers by way of the A.I., does that person have a quality of life? If a machine can learn faster than a human being, does that make the artificial intelligence more advanced? The movie never really debates these questions, but at least it acknowledges them. What's key here is that, unlike most science fiction which is about clanging and banging metal and noise – this one has a point to make. It sees a bleak future. The halls and corridors of Dr. Vincent's lab are made of cold steel, as if the humanity has been washed out. The score is mechanical, reminding us of The Terminator or Blade Runner. In fact, Ridley Scott's popular epic seems to have inspired much of what we see here. This could easily have been a prequel to that film, in which we see the creation of the replicants.

    Within all the cold and steel, it is interesting that director Caradog James returns the focus back on the human element. It lies at the heart of this story. Dead center of this story is bridge between the natural and the artificial – Ava. She's been retooled into a machine, but she has an infant's sensibility. She's still learning her way around, yet you wonder how much of her personality is Ava and how much is the machine.

    I like a movie that has me asking those questions. I like a movie that dares to question the moral state of something as hot button as artificial intelligence. As the world moves closer to the hot spot of A.I., it's an interesting debate. The Machine may not be groundbreaking, but it leaves you thinking about it when it's over.
  • When a scientist is killed, Britain's Ministry of Defence clash with a lead scientist over plans for an artificially intelligent, self-aware and conscious android.

    Inventive, visually interesting science fiction, packed with an array of sci-fi ideas. With an wealth of unapologetic camera light flare and well executed effects Caradog W. James The Machine delivers a thinking man's sci-fi with action thrown in for good measure. Computer scientists Caity Lotz and Toby Stephens give good innings with Lotz stealing the show in a dual role.

    With echoes of Vangelis and Jean Michel Jarre, Tom Raybould's score helps smooth over any flaws of the film. In addition, making up for some clunky paced and staged scenes is the design of The Machine with her stylised look and robotic soft voice which will stick in the mind long after the credits.

    With some great special effects and some strong performances this is solid entry in modern British sci-fi. James delivers a brooding, stylish and highly atmospheric science fiction. Recommended.
  • This was a fantastic thought provoking vision of a dystopian cybernetic and robotic future. The movie was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish; however, you must watch very close to fully understand what is really happening in this flick. The soundtrack was phenomenal, the visuals were very, very good and this movie did not skimp on the sci-fi budget. If you enjoyed Blade Runner then you will more than likely enjoy this movie as well. What this movie truly needs is a sequel. One with a larger budget showcasing what happens next in what could potentially be a cult classic series if the makers of this movie were to pursue making sequels! If you are a true sci-fi fan than this movie is for you. I give it a solid 8/10.
  • Ex_Machina is a good movie but The Machine completely outclasses it.

    I'm not really the type that overlooks imperfections or details nor am I someone that gives praise without caveats, however Caity Lotz performance in this movie is the kind that they should be giving Oscars for rather than the minute variations on the same old theme that is so often regurgitated in what the people with the votes consider an "oscar worthy" performance...

    Both the movie character and Caity Lotz performance is original, subtle and genuine in a way that only rarely make it as far as even being nominated for the brain rot that to a large extent has been the academy awards for so long.

    This movie is one of the few on my list of favorite movies(Thale, Age of Adaline, Mr Right, Watchmen, V for Vendetta) based on story/performance alone rather than action and effects, and I would even put it in the absolute top 3.

    Thoroughly recommended.
  • Even though there are some flaws with this movie, there are several moments of greatness, and it's overall good.

    This is made on a pretty low budget, under a million £'s. And that's not bad, because this movie looks very good. In stead of suffering from the low budget, it's more like, had it had a bigger budget, they could probably have done a lot more. What we actually get looks real good. Everything from the sets to the makeup to the effects looks nice.

    Caity Lotz does a pretty good job. There was one scene with her that I thought the acting was a bit iffy, but that was soon forgotten. Might even just have been me. She also has a couple of real good scenes.

    There's a lot of cool stuff in The Machine. I ain't no science expert, but most of the science seems relatively legit. Movie raises some interesting questions about AI and what it means to live, too. And, you know, I love Terminator 2 to death, so I guess I'm a sucker for this artificial intelligence + emotions-thing.

    The Machine can be compared to Ex Machina in a lot of ways, but they are also very different movies. The budget being one of the large differences, btw.

    Low budget sci-fi often tends to get boring, but The Machine did not bore me at all. Well played, Machine!
  • I met an old lady on Sunday in the vegetable market. She was smart, friendly, smiling, tastefully dressed, but when she walked by, she smelled a bit like pee, so I smacked her in the face! ...NO. It does not work like that. So yes, there are flaws in the scripting, and they are perfectly and amusingly laid down in the longer 1-star reviews here. But if you are not suffering from over-infatuation with your own intellect, or from the professional deformations of a self-proclaimed art critic, it's certainly a great sci-fi. Alone the fact that people compare it to so many other movies, or liked so many divergent aspects about it, should tell you that it's not simple, not predictable, and well executed. So if you crave for one of those, oh so rare, good scifis with a bit of everything, you certainly want to watch it. And if you start watching it, you may want to enjoy it. So do yourself a favor - switch off a few neural connections, if you suspect you own many, let the fear go, lay back and enjoy it. It will be a warm, dark, comfy ride into some future.(!The plot summaries for this movie on IMDb are a failure)
  • Nowadays they make 200 million dollar brain-off movies, which I wouldn't even watch on a Friday night, tired from work and wanting to relax. Nowadays many sci-fi movies are just trying to rule the box office stats.

    I love sci-fi genre as in general. Just not most of the movies they make in that genre. But this film was truly a positive sensation! I see this movie divides people on two cages: "Me ragehate" and the ones who really enjoyed.

    Movie succeeds to keep the tension and atmosphere on the level you progressively want it to be. Acting also is very solid. This movie doesn 't do the down-curve in which point you go make your sandwich, this one keeps you sitting the hole way. As people usually take the sci-fi genre to be full of ships, lasers and mysteries of anykind, this movie sticks on one thing. It is not good to compose too much on one song. You want to be able to focus on one thing at a time. I hope you enjoy this movie as much as I did!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Just saw this movie at a London screening this weekend, and it delivered on many levels. The 3 Critic Reviews posted (by Dread Central, Sound on Sight, and The House Next Door) have done a very good job of describing the movie, plot, positives (many), and shortcomings (few), which I won't repeat because they are spot on.

    This is a smart movie, thought provoking, and has numerous twists and turns that take you in different directions than you anticipate. Solid acting and performances by all, excellent casting, appropriate motivations & emotions for all characters (not clichéd, but nuanced, and sometimes guarded, sometimes unchecked & raw, as situationally appropriate when one is working and being monitored in ultra secret MoD environments on a high tech war footing, when lives are at stake, and government paranoia is omni-present), especially Vincent and the Machine, and the damaged soldiers being experimented upon. Vincent is a world weary brilliant scientist who is using the MoD to save his daughter & to carve out some semblance of a "normal" family life against an uncertain and dangerous global Cold War, and has to walk a dangerous tightrope. This is one of Toby Stephens best performances of his career, and he is completely believable as the tortured protagonist.

    The film looked great, excellent special effects, makeup, stunts, very moody & stylistic sets, lighting, & cinematography, and it was edited as a tightly paced story that didn't lag or drag. No bloodbath, and what violence there is in the movie is appropriate for the plot line and not gratuitous, which was refreshing. You care about the characters and are fully vested in how the story develops, surprises, unfolds, and leaves you pondering profound questions about the evolution of hybrid human/A.I. in potentially positive directions. Surprisingly, the film does not end on the expected dark note, but leaves you intrigued and eagerly anticipating a sequel to further explore these questions.

    A timely thought provoking movie, with themes to current day world affairs, and humanity, that is accessible to all audiences, whether you are a Sci-Fi fan or not. Something for everyone, and ticks all the right boxes for an excellent movie. You'll get your money's worth.
  • Paalnesm10 April 2014
    I have looked forward to this movie for a long time and today I finally got to watch it. And I am very pleased. As others here have pointed out, it is beautiful artistically executed.

    The visual and the details in the movie is stunning. I wasn't bored for a minute, and the run time was perfect.

    Also good performances by Toby Stephens and Caity Lotz.

    Like Paul Frankl said in his review, it has been described as a prequel to Blade Runner and that's something I could believe!

    Been a long time since I saw such good sci-fi thriller like The Machine. This is a must see for people that like this genre.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Machine is set in the near future where Britain is still in recession and the there is a cold war between the West and China. Vincent McCarthy (Toby Stephens) a scientist working with the MOD is trying to create an implant that will bring human feeling and emotion back to the war veterans that he is treating, which will also be used in not only the robotic soldiers but the robotic peacekeepers as well. It is revealed that Vincent's daughter is extremely mentally disabled, providing another interest for his research.

    The implants that he has developed make the patients extremely violent and also seemingly unable to communicate. Vincent teams up with Ava (Caity Lotz) who has developed software in which the robot isn't programmed, but learns from talking with her creator and shows signs of life and emotion. He hopes that with this technology he will make the breakthrough to making a conscious machine and on a personal side help cure his daughter. Ava becomes suspicious of the operation after she enters a restricted area and finds that the patients are kept as prisoners and does not trust Vincent's boss Thomson (Denis Lawson), and suspects his motives are against what she believes in.

    Ava's snooping didn't go unnoticed by Thomson and he had her assassinated. Vincent then goes about putting Ava's software into a cyborg which is in the image of Ava herself, and so the Machine is born. To find out what happens I suggest you get to the cinema in March 2014 when the film will be released in the UK.

    The Q&A at the end of the film with director Caradog James and producer John Giwa-Amu gave a greater insight into the films motives and workings. Carodog explained about the great level of research he did in preparation for the film, visiting the MOD and looking into the research they are currently conducting into robotics where they are looking at organic cells to assist how they develop Artificial Intelligence. He mentioned the quantum theory work of Roger Penrose who has researched consciousness and the brain. On talking about the future of humans and cyborgs, he thought the more realistic future would see how we augment our bodies such as with Google Glasses and he also mentioned how one audience member at the premiere in Tribeca had a chip in his hand to be able to access his computer. So maybe the future for is not too distant! Most of the audience enjoyed the film and questions of what it means to be human obviously arose, as well as the comparisons to Frankenstein. There was one festival goer who exclaimed that he thought the end of the film was like a scene in a video game and accused the producer and director of adding this for monetary reasons. They came back with the difficulty of balancing commerce with art, and that commerce doesn't necessarily mean making money but reaching a greater audience. Carodog finished by saying that their next film will be a horror, that they hope someone in the audience will be so scared they will have a heart attack – he hoped it would be the guy that asked the last question!

    To see the review on the Bath Film Festival blog please visit:
  • Warning: Spoilers
    you either love it or you hate it, it seems. Half of the reviews put it up there with the likes of blade runners, while others call it, I quote, "the worst sci-fi movie ever". To be honest when I saw this movie got only 6 out of 10 stars I was a bit surprised. It captivated me all the way through to the end, if only the plot was a little slow moving and could have done with some of the scenes chopping out. However, it has a very "ghost in the shell" feel to it, especially the parts where the robot is being assembled and "born".

    The weak side of this movie is that the two of the three main characters are just so bland. The evil MOD guy gave more the impression of a smarmy over confident middle manager than a ruthless sadist, which is essentially what he was supposed to be, and the main character, the scientist, went through the whole movie portraying the full gamut of emotions from passive indifference to stoic indifference. The acting of the robot / Eva character was good enough.

    The music, special effects and setting were all perfectly adequate, some reviews complained about them, but I thought they were perfectly acceptable. The only thing I didn't like was the armour piercing bullets bouncing off of what was essentially a rubber surface layer without leaving any marks. They should have at least messed up the appearance of the robot, but been able to regenerate over time or something.

    I can't say this is a terrible sci-fi movie because it explores some interesting concepts in AI and projects a fascinating potential future world scenario as well, and I bothered to watch it all the way through. If only the actors had put more into their roles, and a few extra scenes had established character bonds, such as between the father and daughter, and also between the scientist and the robot life he created, the story arc and finale would have been so much better.

    For that reason alone, this movie gets a 7/10 instead of 9/10.
  • This movie is relatively good and it touches all the right buttons and themes when it comes to the impending singularity, but brings little original. It is decently done, is watchable, and has a nice atmosphere and is relatively intelligent. Its budget is surprisingly low - standing at only 1.5 million, ten times less than an already low budget Ex Machina, which was released a year later independently, and has some similarities (and is a slightly better movie overall). Though the movie is relatively strong, it does not bring anything really new, but all the pieces are brought together in a way not done before in this plausible way. Some of the references do feel pretty corny (HAL shutdown in particular), and there is something of Terminator, some Blade Runner, and similarities to some other movies. However, the story is decently underplayed (unlike over the top movies like somewhat prone to hysteric outbursts like Transcendence), and despite of it being a straightforward, direct take on the usual themes (consciousness, freedom etc) , it still makes a pretty good, understated sci-fi noir movie, well worth a watch if you are into these kinds of things. Acting, atmosphere and writing are all well done.
  • This is a movie more about the two leads, some very low key, but effective, special effects, and some very keen art direction, not so much the plot or extravagant sets. I thought it might be laughable as I'd never heard of it before, but instead I found it engaging and even a bit thought provoking.

    Toby Stephens has an oddly prickly way about him that keeps you on your toes. He's played many supporting roles and you will recognize him immediately, but this time is the lead. As such he is a solid anchor for this flight of fancy set in the near future. His scientist is not happy to be working for a defense contractor, but he must pursue his research for the sake of his sickly daughter.

    Caity Lotz is a newcomer but you won't have to be lenient with her as she does a great job as the new scientist who is soon doubtful she made the right career choice. She is the machine of the title and there's something very insightful about the way she depicts being put through a series of changes. I imagine she has a great career ahead of her.

    The plot has to do with creating life in an artificial intelligence. How do you know it's self aware? What will be our relationship to it? It suggests a couple of answers but is knowing enough not to push them. There is every indication this was done by actually researching the topic as it's suggestive of the real work on these problems.
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