The Machine is written and directed by Caradog W. James (Little White lies) and is set in Britain in the near future.
With Britain still gripped by recession and caught up in a cold war with China, tensions are running high and the Ministry Of Defence are looking to create artificial life. What they want are humanoid robots which are intelligent enough to not only fight, but also help out in negotiations and peace-keeping missions and to understand which is appropriate.
However, the technology is still unstable and results are decidedly disappointing (especially for those who die during the subsequent rampage). Forced to look further afield for help, he finally meets and teams up with Ava (Caity Lotz – The Pact, Battle Of The Year), a beautiful and brilliant young American scientist, whose research provides the missing piece of the puzzle. Vincent is desperately trying to advance the project so that he can give his seriously ill daughter a better chance at life and sees Ava as the perfect tool to accomplish this.
Vincent begins to map Ava’s brain, in order to create a template for consciousness. As the two of them begin to form a relationship, Ava is becoming increasingly suspicious, both of the motives of the M.O.D. and of the goings on around the base. There seem to be modified soldiers everywhere, who cannot speak as a result of their surgery, yet who still seem to communicate somehow.
When the M.O.D. realize Ava as a potential threat, they have her removed from the equation, leaving Vincent alone to create The Machine. As a tribute, he has it designed in the image of Ava, but it seems to have too many of her personality traits.
It is too compassionate, too empathetic and disinclined to kill, which is really all that Vincent’s boss Thompson (Denis Lawson – Broken, Local Hero) is after.
With his daughter slipping away from him and his superiors endangering his project, the race is on to complete his mission and keep himself and The Machine safe.
This is an excellent example of British sci-fi, slick and stylish in a way that you would never get from a Hollywood blockbuster. The special effects are gorgeous to look at, especially The Machine, the way that the lighting is done is breath-taking and frankly showing off!
The Machine carries strong elements of both Ghost In The Shell and I, Robot and the overall effect makes for an extremely watchable and enjoyable film. Highly recommended.