“Hits all the right genre notes right from the start” - Bryan Bishop, THE VERGE
“A fully realized, challenging science fiction film” - Mark Young, SOUND ON SIGHT
A future U.K. is deadlocked in cold war with China as the two await action from either side. Underground, Vincent (Toby Stephens, the memorable Bond villain from DIE ANOTHER DAY) works on tech for the Ministry of Defense. Tasked with creating a next-level war machine, Vincent is weapons designer by day, but the real goal (and one he must hide) of his research is to help his ill daughter. Searching for a breakthrough in the consciousness of machines, he finds the possibility in the work of Ava (Caity Lotz, last seen in the 2012 Fantasia pick THE PACT). At first it is the products of her mind. Then it is her mind itself. Copied brain patterns applied to their advanced work together allow Ava to live on following her assassination. She is applied to what becomes the titular Machine. Of course, a tug begins between Vincent and his shadowy, war-mongering boss Thomson (Denis Lawson, Wedge from the initial STAR WARS trilogy) over its best use.
Some films just look cool. Caradog James’ future-set cold war tale THE MACHINE is massively so. From an aesthetic standpoint it is slickly designed and beautiful on what’s surely a modest budget. Temperature-wise, it exists in a seeming eternally harsh space of overcast skies, nighttime and enormous, often barely-holding-up warehouses and labs. Star Caity Lotz is fluid and incredible in her movement. But what’s truly coolest is the ensuing warm, radical spirit that reveals itself throughout it all. Also notable here is the convincing biomechanical prosthetics work of U.K. go-to FX-guy Paul Hyett (THE DESCENT, DOOMSDAY, THE WOMAN IN BLACK). Feeling unexpected, THE MACHINE and writer/director James aren’t afraid of where technology can take us in what amounts to an ultra neat pro-science, anti-war fable.
— Samuel Zimmerman
With the generous support of Film Agency Wales