November 11, 2015 Uncanny (Movie Review)
Every decade, technology advances in leaps and bounds. So much so, that the idea of Artificial Intelligence is not at all far-fetched. RLJ Entertainment has exposed just how close technology may be to reaching this feat in the new film Uncanny, released November 3rd. Directed by Matthew Leutwyler (Dead & Breakfast 2004, Unearthed 2007) Uncanny features superb acting by Mark Webber (Broken Flowers 2005, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World 2010), Lucy Griffiths (Awakening 2011, True Blood series), and David Clayton Rogers (Border Patrol 2007, Nashville series) in this twisted tale of science, robotics, deception, and emotions that run the gamut from A to Z.
The story centers around a child prodigy, David Kressen, who graduated MIT early, at only nineteen years of age to be exact, and pursued a career working for Simon Castle at Kestrel Computing. A leader in advancement of technology, Kressen was given a workspace that would be candy to a child. Secluded to Workspace 18 for a decade, Kressen has been working on the ultimate creation. Then enters reporter and robotics specialist Joy Andrews. Brought in for a week to observe and write an article of Kressen’s achievements, upon first entering, Andrews is confused as why she needs a week. Being a specialist, she notices nothing of extreme detail that she would need so much time to write about. Kressen exposes that he knows her in-depth schooling and personal achievement and failures. Andrews is then led to another room where she is introduced to Adam.
Upon meeting Adam, Andrews is confused as to his condition. Is he the next prodigy? May he possibly have Asperger’s Syndrome? To her amazement, he is introduced as Kressen’s creation; a robot so lifelike, it fooled a robotics specialist. Throughout her week of observation and interaction with both Adam and Kressen, Andrews develops emotions for the scientist and begins to feel uneasy around the creation. As the scientist maintains his educated, genius, and calm levels, the creation begins to exhibit unnatural emotions, “peeking” on Andrews, and seeming to have actual thought and emotion behind his interaction with Andrews, beyond a level of programming.
As the story reaches its arc, the scientist and Andrews become threatened by the AI, causing them to run from Workspace 18, alarms blaring and lockdown ensuing. Kressen asks,”Do you hear that scratching,” and blacks out as he slumps to the ground. Andrews awakens in a room to find Adam “operating” or “torturing” Kressen. As she confesses her love for the scientist, her world is forever changed.
Full of technological facts and extremely possible situations, viewers are taken for a psychological and intellectual ride of amazement, wonder, concern, and fear. As the world does reach the point that this story may in fact be around the corner, the viewer is put in a position of distrust that anyone can be watching and anyone could be such a creation as Adam. A little slow moving for some due to the story development and scientific materials, the twist in the ending will have one wishing the film was not yet over. Hopes are, as the ending implies, there will be a sequel.
Touching on various genres of film, there is something for each viewer in Uncanny. The acting by Griffiths, Webber, and Rogers add to the confusion and inability to decipher fact from fiction, human from AI. Part of what makes Uncanny so effective is the dialogue and the emotional connections, inevitably it is the compelling story by Shahin Chandrasoma that makes it a success. There are moments were Uncanny is eerie, anxiety-laced, and even sad. Upon the credits, the audience will surely need another go around in order to pick up on hidden nuances of personalities amongst the characters. This is definitely one to add to the library and it is a film to be watched over multiple times. Uncanny is available on DVD and Digital Video, do not wait to experience it. CrypticRock gives Uncanny 5 out of 5 stars.