There have been a few sci-fi films of late that has taken on the robot intelligence aspect of the future through a bleak looking glass. The latest, Automata features a great cast including Antonio Banderas, Dylan McDermott, Robert Forster, and Melanie Griffith, but does it bring something original to the table or will it be yet another sad future that offers nothing more than depression and be one that you will prefer to be shut down?
Automata follow an insurance agent of ROC robotics corporation who routinely investigates the case of manipulating a robot. What he discovers will have profound consequences for the future of humanity. One time action star Antonio Banderas has had a resurgence of great projects over the last couple of years with his brilliant turn in The Skin I Live In and his fun return to action with Expendables 3. This not only continues this track, but steps it up quite a bit with him delivering one of his best performances in some time. Here he leaves out his often chaotic mentality for a subtle approach that keeps the character grounded while still allowing him to be effective. The rest of the cast do a great job as well, with the only real weak link being Melanie Griffith who just isn’t given much to do, but in turn isn’t in the film all that long. Dylan McDermott brings an intensity to his crazed role that is needed for everything to come together. The story is just simple enough to keep you interested, but interjects plenty of mystery and twists to keep you guessing and intrigued. While this may seem like a smaller film, the scope of the settings and visual take it to the next level. For this film to work they have to have believable robots and they have outdone themselves with each one seemingly having their own personality. It looks as though they used mostly practical effects which is always a plus and coupled with the excellent performances and amazing visual landscapes it just further delivers the impact of this great film.
Movies like this don’t come around much anymore with a style harkening back to films like Blade Runner that doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, but instead improve on it. Banderas is on a role and while he never disappeared, this returns him to form better than ever. In a world of remakes, sequels and more of the same crap it is great to see a film like this that is doing its own thing in familiar territory so get out there and support this film when it is released on October 10th.