Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Machine (2013)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie The Machine (2013).

If you are a fan of real science fiction, you should watch the movie before reading this post. It is one of best science fiction movies ever made and it loses some of its edge, if you know what will happen.

I love this movie. It drops scientific concepts and expect audience to know them. You don't have to know them to understand the movie. They are explained briefly and are not keys of understanding what is happening. But, if you know them, you get little bit more out of the movie. Turing test is mentioned by name and showed. Theory of mind is only showed. Both come during first few minutes and it doesn't end there. I am sure, there are much more scientific concepts, that I missed.

In near future western countries and China are in cold war. Vincent is researching how to building machine solders for military. He is making brain implants for injured solders. Implants help solders function, but they lose their speech after a little while. Vincent is working for army,because he wants this technology to help his mentally ill daughter. Vincent hire rebellious artificial intelligence genius Ava as his assistant. They map Ava's brains to use them as basis of their artificial intelligence. Chinese agents attack and kill Ava. Vincent uses their work to create machine that looks like Ava. Everyone calls it Machine.

Vincent start to study and educate Machine. His goal is to find out, if Machine is really alive or smart imitation of intelligence. If it is latter, he could use technology to transfer his daughter into a machine. How ever military has different goals. They do their own studies on Machine and try to make it a killing machine. Vincent start to believe Machine is really alive. Military think they can't have machine solder, who can think for itself. They blackmail Vincent to lobotomize Machine.

I won't spoil the ending. It is intelligent and though provoking. Main point of this movie is to analyze, where computer's imitation of intelligence becomes real intelligence and machines becomes alive. Movie doesn't make it clear which was the case with Machine. It feels like alive, but it is acting like imperfect copy of Ava, whose brainwaves were used to create Machine. It feels Ava is its mother. Currently there are programs, that could work as answering machines and solve caller's problems so good, caller can't be sure, if he was talking to human or program.  Machine has conscience or something that looks like it. That makes it more than just machine performing tasks.

Story is not the only good thing in this movie. Visually this will divide audience. It uses a lot of artsy effects. Sometimes effects distract and make it hard to see what happens. I liked it. It made movie feel more emotional and unreal, when it needed to be. If everything looked realistic, Machine wouldn't have felt as alive. I also liked how they used cgi and practical effects in this movie. Effects were not on main part. Only what they needed to tell the story.

It is shame, this is film festival/straight to dvd movie. In Finland this seems to be straight to streaming service movie, since it came there around same time it was shown on film festivals. Or maybe this is future of film industry, movies are released on several different formats at same time. Makes you think how much money this kind of movies will make, if they go straight to streaming and how much money next similar movie will get to be made.


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