The Machine on DVD and Blu-ray

Monday, 31 March 2014 08:28

The Machine - out now on DVD and Blu-rayIn the not too distant future, Britain is in the throws of another deep recession and engaged in an antagonistic relationship with China that threatens to disintegrate into total war. The world's advanced powers are in a new arms race, only this time the goal is the ultimate, artificially intelligent, robotic killing machine. Nuclear weapons are so passé! If scientists can combine Turing test-beating AI with a killer android, the war could be over before it has even begun.

Head scientist Vincent (Toby Stephens – Vexed, “Die Another Day”) hires Ava, a promising AI specialist (Caity Lotz - Arrow, "The Pact") to develop cutting-edge software, secretly hoping that the project will ultimately help his mentally disabled daughter recover her faculties. Meanwhile, Vincent's boss Thomson (Denis Lawson - New Tricks, Wedge from the original “Star Wars” trilogy) plans to hijack their work to guarantee the creation of the ultimate weapon.

“The Machine” is a great little film, full of dark, brooding atmosphere, quality acting and a plot that - whilst it telegraphs its arc - still entertains and stimulates the audience. Lotz is outstanding in dual roles as the software engineer and her artificially-intelligent creation. She is quite haunting and eerily robotic as the latter, struggling to emote in a human way but still warm and sensitive underneath. Bright blue, flickering eyes and smoothed, slightly Auton-like features complement her acting.

There are almost too many elements to the plot, and one wonders if it would not have been better served as a mini-series given the wealth of ideas on display. As a stand-alone movie it still hits the mark but typically leaves the audience to ponder the big questions such as what are life and consciousness? Some of the narrative concepts such as asking whether immoral humans are more deserving of life than innocent androids are dealt with a bit heavy-handedly, but scenes where the Lotz-droid beats the living daylights out of some soldiers help to paper over the cracks!

The special effects, set design and lighting are very evocative and help to make this movie feel like a British relative of “Blade Runner” and “Splice”. Dark concrete vaults and labs are brightly lit and lens flare is liberally used to engender a cold, high-tech, military ambience. Writer/Producer/Director Caradog W James is not afraid to borrow from the best.

The electronic soundtrack adds fuel to the Ridley Scott comparisons, and one can imagine that the android at the centre of this film is a relative of the Ash and Bishop synthetics from the first two “Alien” movies.

Neither the DVD nor the Blu-ray versions come with any special features, which is a shame if only for the missed opportunity of an interview with Lotz about her rather revealing costume! Never-the-less, “The Machine” comes highly recommended for SF/thriller fans.

“The Machine” (2013) is out now on [DVD] and [Blu-ray], courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment. The main feature has a running time of 86 minutes approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £15.99 on DVD and £19.99 on Blu-ray, or less from www.culttvstore.com

The movie can also be obtained via iTunes.

The official website can be found BY CLICKING HERE.

 

Last modified on Monday, 31 March 2014 08:45

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