The Machine (2013) Poster

(I) (2013)

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Dark, glossy British Sci Fi for 2013
Paul Frankl18 June 2013
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.
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Stylish, atmospheric, refreshing
FreakNumberOne9 April 2014
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.
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More A.I. Explored
view_and_review7 May 2015
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.
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Enjoyable Sci Fi flick
Tom22 March 2014
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.
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Amazing, you should see this film
Iolo Caudy21 March 2014
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.
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Artsy without being overly dramatic. Asks deep questions without being pompous. The special effects are good too.^^
lord-leovuld19 April 2014
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.
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Blade Runner for a new generation
scottmannen18 April 2014
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.
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Better than I thought it would be
getbobt8 April 2014
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.
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It isn't perfect, but at least it has a brain in its head.
The_Film_Cricket11 April 2014
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.
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Let's begin with the bad sides
bmradux9 April 2014
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)
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