7.5/10
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The Awareness (2014)

On the eve of a technological breakthrough, an insignificant janitor and a prominent engineer are faced with a decision that will alter the course of humanity: the release of the first aware computer system into the world.

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Cast

Cast overview:
Chip Bent ...
The Janitor
...
The Engineer
Edward Klein ...
Stephens
...
The Machine (voice)
Melissa Peralta ...
Lisa (voice)
Benjamin Pearl ...
Officer #1
Jim Ortolano ...
Officer #2
Jason Vickstrom ...
Officer #3
Clyde Hogan ...
Officer #4
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Storyline

On the eve of a technological breakthrough, an insignificant janitor and a prominent engineer are faced with a decision that will alter the course of humanity: the release of the first aware computer system into the world.

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Release Date:

2 January 2014 (USA)  »

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000 (estimated)
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2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

Atmospheric and tight sci-fi
22 February 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A janitor is cleaning up in a small tech startup firm when he finds one of the computer engineers working late. The engineer mocks him about his lowly position in life when compared to his important work, before leaving to go home. The janitor carries on but soon the "work" the engineer spoke of starts to communicate – an artificial intelligence which is held on a server disconnected from the network. The computer informs the janitor that tomorrow the engineer will ignore company orders to shut the computer down and instead will release it, which will see it then "solve" all the problems in the world by wiping out humanity. The computer needs help to prevent this.

Although the cinematography here is very dark, it perhaps suits the tone and atmosphere of a short film which begins with cruelty and ends in a satisfyingly cruel way. In the middle we have a nice dialogue sequence between the computer and the janitor where tension is raised and kept high. There is a brooding darkness to the whole piece as the janitor tries to make his decision and, although it is a big story to tell in such a short film, it actually works very well to have it condensed down. It does feel like the start of something bigger and aside from one or two limiting aspects, it does feel like a bit expensive project. The performances are mostly good – the janitor is well played by Bent while Porter is importantly rude as the engineer. Himadeh's voice is well used as the machine.

Dunham directs well albeit with a dark palate. His brooding atmosphere works very well and the conclusion is particularly memorable and satisfying. Very tightly done piece of sci-fi.


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