Uncanny

uncannyDirector: Matthew Leutwyler. With: Mark Webber, Lucy Griffiths, David Clayton Rogers. USA, 2015. IMDB: 6.3. My rating: 1/4. Guess-if-it-is-a-robot-or-not science fiction.

– Your lack of focus on what’s important means you miss the big picture. And that made you lose the game.
(David Kressen)

This movie belongs to the great category called “one more movie”. What is it, you will ask me? Oh, one more movie where we have to guess:
a) if it is human or robot/android/vampire/monster/somebody else
b) who exactly is the robot and who is the human
c) after the final plot twist – oh this beloved trick, the final plot twist! – guess again who is the robot.

So… A scientist (Mark Webber) created a human-like robot (David Clayton Rogers) with perfect AI. As the scientist falls in love with the journalist (Lucy Griffiths) that visits his laboratory, the behaviour of the robot becomes stranger.

But the suffering continues. It is one more movie with:20170219_070304
d) silly dialogues:
– Do you miss life there?
– No, I even don’t remember how it was to live there. I spent so much time here. So I don’t miss, because I don’t remember. I must be crazy.
– No, I understand you.

e) horrible acting. Most actors are barely unwatchable. By saying most, I mean 2 out of 3, because 99% of the movie we see the interaction of 3 main actors. David Clayton Rogers 20170219_070248did it better though than Mark Webber and Lucy Griffiths by displaying an android through small gests and weird stare. Still, nothing outstanding. There is no chemistry between Lucy Griffiths and male characters. For no apparent reason (most probably, because it was written in plot?), she starts to be closer with one of them, including improvised hugging and – of course! – holding his hand on a rooftop. Such a quick relationship appeared from no20170219_070202where and I couldn’t find any explanation for this. It looked like two complete strangers just accidentally met on the street few hours ago, one of them (Mark Webber) was particularly hard to watch, being most time egocentric maniac praising his genius and his complex creations. Repeatedly. Many times. Repeatedly. Many times. Repeatedly. Many times. You got the point, right?

f) 10-minute-before-ending-plot-twist-that-changes-everything. I think we all have seen enough of it.
g) in a science fiction movie about complex androids and mechanisms, most complex things the characters do include:
– pointlessly use touch-screens for rotating some images
– play a videogame that could look cool in 1992
– build some toy machine that could be cool in 1982

h) predictable plot.

I could continue, but it’s pointless. It’s truly a disaster. Maybe on paper the plot didn’t look that bad, but it’s realization is horrible. The characters’ motivation in everything 20170219_070507they do is just nonsense. You could say – “hey dude, it’s a robot, what you expect from him”? But the idea itself though is completely dull. And as movie progresses, it becomes worse. All the power of cinema in this movie is dedicated to guess who is who and two watch two male humans/robots who are pretty disgusting in their behaviour. It looks like a very trashy thriller, where the whole movie we guess who is the ”killer” with obligatory final twist. But you don’t watch movies only to know what is in the end, do you? If ‘Uncanny’ aimed to 20170219_070415be a reflection upon human emotions and identity, it failed almost completely. It can be used as a sleeping pill though. Or a manual of “main mistakes an indie movie could make”. All plot twists are entirely predictable, including classic clichés “creature vs creator” and “oh he is not a friend but the killer”.

I read some reviews (that are mostly negative), but found out that some people really enjoyed this movie, claiming that it outperformed “Ex Machina”. Of course, it is complete 20170219_070342nonsense. “Ex Machina” was a piece of art, and it didn’t need final plot twists to catch your attention. It was anything but not a cheap thriller. Yes, you could build up theories about who is who, how to prove the robot identity, but…is this the point? Is it fun? I mean, there is no need to make a movie for that. Short story would do fine. A film is much more than a simple puzzle. There are other movies much better with various kind of sci-fi puzzles and plot twists, if you want it. Like “Time Crimes” or “”Coherence”. And now we have brilliant ”Ex Machina” as well.

So, dear filmmakers and everybody else involved, don’t make a bad sci-fi like “Uncanny”. It’s problem is not the budget. It doesn’t look that cheap… Just silly and boring. Please, don’t twist all the plot in last 10 minutes. It’s a cheap trick. This movi20170219_070449e could have grown into something bigger, but the things didn’t work out. It’s without a soul, just like the robots we are seeing. One of the most basic rules of any low-budget indie movie is to include great acting, because otherwise everything else falls apart. The other basic rules is that at least some characters should cause sympathy, in case no character causes sympathy, it should be a means to some higher goal in order to express something. None of this works.

Re-reading this review, I seem quiet negative about this movie. Well, many much worse 20170219_070431movies were made. At least this one had some good intentions to show something about A.I. and androids. Well, I appreciated the intention, but lets stop it here.

P. S. Almost forgot. After the final plot twist, wait for final titles to finish and you will see the VFPT (Very Final Plot Twist), that once again reverses all the logic of the Final Plot Twist. Did Leutwyler aim to become a part of absurdism movement?

P. P. S. In some scenes (totally less than a couple of minutes), you can see Rainn Wilson here. I have on idea what he is doing here, still it’s always great to see him!

One thought on “Uncanny

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