Film #58: THE MACHINE
3 out of 5 stars
People have long been fascinated by the idea of robots and “artificial intelligence.” In THE MACHINE, director Caradog W. James (LITTLE WHITE LIES) crafts a beautifully realized – albeit traditional - film on a miniscule budget of $1.5 million. Somehow, the production is able to make every penny count by hiding things in suitably spooky environments and putting just enough tech on display to sell the premise. Basically covering a lot of the same ground that films like BLADE RUNNER, THE TERMINATOR, and ROBOCOP have in the past (ie, “what does it mean to be human?”), THE MACHINE manages to keep things interesting even while covering some very familiar territory. The script – brilliant scientist uses military weapons funding to try to cure his daughter of a brain disease – is good and never heaps on the unnecessary scientific mumbo-jumbo. Naturally guys in business suits show up and ruin everything, but despite THE MACHINE seeming cliché, it’s nice to see the filmmakers at least *try* to do something new and different with the same toys. Acting is good with Caity Lotz (The Canary on ARROW) doing most of the heavy lifting. Sadly, her robotic affectations come off as unsure and a bit too robotic, if you know what I mean? The Special FX are cool, but thankfully they’re minimally used. All in all, THE MACHINE is a competently constructed film made from some pretty standard components. Enjoyable, thought-provoking, even though not exactly original, THE MACHINE is an interesting sci-fi thriller that swings for the fences and, for the most part, actually succeeds.