The Machine is a British Science Fiction thriller which was made for less than £1 million. I like watching low-budget indie films with big ideas but will the small budget hinder its ambition?
Set in the future facing a cold war against China, the British Military Defence is turning to Cybernetics to help win the war. One of their scientists, Vincent McCarthy (Toby Stephens) has helped developed cyborgs using disabled soldiers although it renders them silent. When McCarthy sees the AI work of scientist Ava (Caity Lotz) he believes she can help create the perfect cyborg. However when Ava dies tragically McCarthy uses her likeness for their new cyborg which has consequences for everyone involved.
While The Machine may not have the budget of the Hollywood blockbusters but it does have interesting ideas and themes within the movie. A small cast and few locations may show its indie trappings but the special effects are good and the Machine itself is brilliantly realised. Lotz plays her dual roles well, and is great at displaying the conflicting nature of the Machine who is more human than her creators could have expected but who is still an outsider to humanity. Lotz also did her own stunts in the film which is impressive.
Some aspects of the plot are signposted way too early -McCarthy and Ava’s boss Thompson (Denis Lawson) might as well have villain written in capitals on his forehead. It may prove to be a bit slow for those expecting more action or for anyone who wants the film will be a straight-forward killer-Machine movie. Personally I like the fact that it goes a bit differently than what is expected.
Rating 3.5/5 – entertaining science fiction with big ideas and a great performance from Lotz