Newest Reviews
Boss Level
My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To
Edge of the World
Treasure City
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Hands of Orlac, The
Death has Blue Eyes
Kala Azar
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Bank Job
Drunk Bus
State Funeral
Army of the Dead
Dinner in America
Death Will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes
Newest Articles
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
  Machine, The Build Your Own Pandora
Year: 2013
Director: Caradog W. James
Stars: Toby Stephens, Caity Lotz, Denis Lawson, Sam Hazeldine, Helen Griffin, Ben McGregor, Pooneh Hajimohammadi, Lee Nicholas Harris, Sule Rimi, Stuart Matthews, Jonathan Byrne, Jade Croot, Lee Paul Atkinson, Alan Low, Joshua Higgott, John Stylianou
Genre: Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: It is the future and another Cold War has developed between the West and the East, with China threatening the Westerners and a covert arms race building between the two sides. The cutting edge of this technology is in robotics, and British scientist, Vincent McCarthy (Toby Stephens) has developed a way to bring seriously brain damaged soldiers back to some sort of life in the hope that they will be able to be redeployed. However, there's a problem in that the subjects have suffered such trauma that when they are revived, they tend to go crazy: Vincent is nearly killed by one of the soldiers who really does murder his colleague. So how do they solve this?

The Machine represented a British science fiction movie for whom ideas were more important than action, although it had both, but was one of those genre efforts where you could very well find yourself ticking off the influences and references if you were of a mind to. That applied to many sci-fi works both big blockbusting and small indie (which this was the latter), so it was what the talent did with the inspirations that mattered, which in this case was to craft a sombre, moody atmosphere which took place largely in the military research base Vincent has a position in, pushing back the boundaries of what was possible. Which you could apply to director Caradog W. James here, as though this was not hugely expensive, he did manage a sleek gloss.

One which belied how much money had been spent on it, thanks to many well-placed and designed computer graphics which brought the fantastical elements to more convincing life. Also brought to life was the movie's android character Ava, played by Caity Lotz who happened to be making waves at the time this was brought to the world in the comic book television series Arrow - in the role of Black Canary - though she doesn't start off as a robot. She actually begins as a promising research scientist, newly graduated and in her way holding as much potential as Vincent did at her age, so how tragic would it be if Ava were stopped dead in her tracks when she finds out... too much?

She was already growing suspicious of the activities in the base, uncovering a conspiracy of sorts where the test subjects may not have given their permission to be used in this manner (bereaved mother Helen Griffin represents all those loved ones left behind by these machinations and demanding answers they are not getting). But the conspiracy goes deeper, with boss Thompson (Denis Lawson) pulling various strings from his office which is, like the rest of the sets, incredibly dark to look at - not morally, but in terms of lighting, so you may well be wondering when someone is going to switch a lamp on so the characters can see properly. Vincent, meanwhile, has his own personal dilemma to occupy his thoughts when his young daughter is struggling with a severe mental impairment.

Obviously he wishes to use his technology for good and bring his daughter back to a normal life, as events conspire to see Ava turned into a robot, bringing questions of how far consciousness can be developed in computers, a very sci-fi idea which courted comparisons to Blade Runner. Though actually The Machine went back further, to Fritz Lang's Metropolis as Robot Ava leads an eventual revolt against the monolithic authorities, and the graceful Lotz used her martial arts training to fine effect. That said, it was her innocence of the android waking up to the pressure of having to kill, in spite of her childlike concepts of right and wrong, which made her the most captivating personality in the plot, both before and after her transformation. There was a hefty amount of ethics to be considered when judging the integrity of the military research going on here, and where the line was crossed from defence to aggression, so food for thought was plentiful though if you wanted a slow-burning science fiction yarn with an explosive climax, that was here too. Vangelis-esque music by Tom Raybould.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 1495 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf


Last Updated: