There is plenty that’s wrong with this budget British film The Machine… and yet so much that’s right, it’s absolutely captivating after the slightly shaky start. The plot is straight forward enough; a scientist is working on creating an intelligent fighting machine for the MoD and discovers it has somehow become sentient. Of course the MoD needs to militarize it but can’t have a sentient machine running about getting all emotional with a gun. That’s when things start to go horribly wrong. There are a couple of interesting sub plots going on but don’t worry I won’t spoil it for you. The score and moody dark vistas could be straight out of Blade Runner.
One thing the film does quite well is stimulate some thought on what would happen if we did ever create a sentient computer? After all we just can’t resist making robots in our own image. Every year they get closer and closer to creating a realistic humanoid. Just recently the Turing test has been passed by a computer and eventually computing power will reach a point where there will be no way to tell you are taking to a computer. If they can touch, feel, think, decide, converse, in a totally human way are they sentient? At what point do we consider them as alive? Will they have rights? What about version 2, or 3, or 55, how will we see them when they are smarter, faster and stronger than us?
Anyway, back to the film; it’s not great, but it’s easy enough to watch and won awards from here to Timbuktu and if you aren’t expecting the world will make an entertaining evening. Oh it does have a little violence in but it’s fairly restrained and not too gory until the last 5 minutes of the film at least. Easily trumps most of the big budget Hollywood trash that’s been churned out in the last couple of years without even trying.