Toronto After Dark 2013: The Machine (Dork Shelf)
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT DORK SHELF
Two computer programmers fall in love creating the first ever piece of self-aware artificial intelligence, designed to help humanity. But things go wrong when the MoD (the U.K. equivalent of the CIA who have been funding their research), decide to alter their breakthrough and teach it to become a robotic weapon.
The Machine benefits from some strong performances from leads Toby Stevens and Caity Lotz. The duo has an evident chemistry that crackles onscreen, especially after Lotz assumes her doppelgänger’s intelligent robot form. Playing the heavy of the piece, Denis Lawson does a very good job as a smarmy and greasy government official who never has anything but destruction on his mind. The film also features a strong look and style, matched with a scientifically intelligent script that sells the neo-futuristic world it takes place in. The pace is deliberate, but never lagging, managing to be enthralling from the outset.
But it’s not perfect, with the ending devolving into a dishearteningly generic shootout that fails to inspire any interest, and the villain’s final outcome is extremely anti-climactic. The film also (possibly deliberately) shows its influences on its sleeve, with heavy echoes of Blade Runner and Terminator becoming more frequent towards the end.
Till Next Time
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