The Machineimage

Damn you internet, you’re suppose to tell me when cool stuff gets released. Now that I said that, it would be hypocritical not to recommend a few films I recently caught on Netflix.

The Machine

A synopsis from IMDB:

Two artificial intelligence engineers come together as they work to create the first ever self-aware artificial intelligence. A veteran AI engineer secretly hopes to develop technology to help his diseased daughter, even if it means funding comes from the powerful Ministry of Defense (MoD). His new partner, a young woman gifted in the field of AI, is brought on after her breakthroughs are recognized by the MoD. Things go wrong when the MoD takes over and advances the researchers’ work to the next level, teaching the AI to kill and follow MoD instructions with its new and nearly indestructible body.

Now, I’ll just go ahead and tell you that the story ends exactly as you expect it to. I’m not even going to pretend it’s a spoiler. Yes, the A.I. can’t be controlled, turns on man, and sets up a future where our species will inevitably be replaced by superior machines.

What is noteworthy about this film is the writing.  The development of the A.I. was fascinating. The questions the researcher has to pose to the computer in order to ascertain if the machine is truly self aware, or merely mimicking its understanding of complicated human emotions. Definitely worth watching if you like intelligent science fiction.

I will warn that there were some parts of the directing I found unnecessary.  There is a perpetual theme of depression and gloom in both the sound track and the scenery. There is maybe five scenes that don’t take place in a dark cement colorless room. This is, of course, by design, but I’m not sure the film needed to be shot in such an exclusively depressing manner. The writing alone was strong enough to convey this. If you are a writer yourself, I promise, there are moments during this film where you’ll be sitting there thinking “Damn, I should of thought of that line.”

Mr. Nobody

For this, I am posting the synopsis from Netflix because the one on IMDB is actually a spoiler.

The last mortal in a world of immortals, Nemo Nobody begins reviewing his life at the age of 120, trying to determine if he made the right decisions.

Now, again, it’s the writing that makes this Mr. Nobody thought provoking. Well, that and some quality vision from the director. If you watched this and found it wanting, I will go ahead and say there was one element I didn’t care for. To get it out of the way, I enjoy my theoretical physics as much as the next guy, but including “The Big Crunch” in the story line took more away than it added. Mostly, I think I was offended by the cliché of its presence in an otherwise awesome film.

What I liked most was the mystery.  You are perpetually being toyed with as you try to understand the narrative, thinking you have pinned down the eventual ending only to find out you were setup. This aspect of the film diminishes as you get further into the story, but that is not a detriment to the film, just an inevitability of getting more information as you watch.

Again, If you are a writer,  there are moments viewing this movie where you’ll be thinking “Damn, such an awesome setup for that line.”

Some of my favorite quotes (spoiler alert):

“Before, he was unable to make a choice, because he didn’t know what would happen. Now he knows what will happen, and is unable to make a choice.”

“In chess, it’s called Zugzwang. When the only viable move, is not to move.”

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