AI Flick Archive falls short of cutting edge

Sommerleigh Pollonais – Senior Writer

They say it’s all been done before, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take what’s there and make it all your own. This is exactly what director Gavin Rothery has managed to pull off with Archive.

An amalgamation of visual, sound and cinematography inspired by films like Moon (no surprise there as Rothery was one of the visual effects wizards who worked on that movie) as well as, Blade Runner, Ex-Machina, and 2001:A Space Odyssey, Archive’s cinematography is a beautiful blend of present and future that manages to present us a world that doesn’t feel that far off from our own.

There’s something odd about this AI. Something…insurgent. No, that’s not it. Something…dang! It was right on the tip of my tongue!

Ghost in The Shell and Frankenstein were a couple other movies that came to mind while unpacking some of the themes of this film, as we follow George Almore (Theo James) a scientist who has created a near perfect, true-to-human AI. Although he does work for a massive tech company who has paid him to develop this technology, his true goal must remain hidden – to reunite with his dead wife. His single mindedness blinds him to potential danger of what he’s doing (as well to some other truths that even you the viewer, won’t pick up on until a second viewing) and like all great mad scientists, his loved ones suffer for his actions.

While Theo James is not an actor I myself would’ve put in such a role, as this character has to carry most of the emotional weight of this story all the way through to the end, he does an okay job, for the most part. I would be lying if I said this movie would not have benefited from a more skilled actor, but he’s far from terrible, so good on him for pushing himself.

Are all humans this stupid or are you a special case?

Actress Stacy Martin fares much better, as our titular AI and also the wife of James’ character. Unfortunately, both Rhona Mitra (Strike Back/Underworld) and Toby Jones (Capt. America/The Mist) are vastly under-utilised here and only show up for a minute or two of screen time (it’s an independent film on a budget so, understandable). And I wish more time was spent on the world building than just on this one story, as Archive did a great job of presenting a world that felt lived in, yet futuristic and a tad alien.

It is one of those movies that would have benefited from a second polish of the screenplay to tighten up some pacing issues and maybe adding a scene or two that would’ve developed their intriguing world and story a bit more. Archive, as it is, still manages to keep your interest peaked enough to take you to a solid twist ending, that would make any Black Mirror fan nod their heads in admiration.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

For more of my take on this film you can check out my video review here. For my Quick Bite review of Sci Fi film The Vast of Night you can click here.

Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.

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