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The Machine (2013)


Starring: Toby Stephens, Caity Lotz, Denis Lawson.

Running time: 91 mins.

Directed By: Caradog W. James.

I watched this last night after seeing a preview for it about a month ago and liked the look of the trailer. And as I sat down to watch it, I realised I knew little or nothing about the premise, story, director and actors appearing in it. This can be either a good or bad thing. Ultimately, I really enjoyed this movie, it just about fits into the Sci-fi horror genre. It was released in the UK the last week of March and will have its US release at the end of April.

The story here focuses on Vincent, (Toby Stephens) a genius working for the British Military of Defence special division. He’s putting together a weapon as the UK has been plunged into a Cold War, (this movie is set in the not too distant future, but where technology has far surpassed what we have today). But whilst making weapons, he’s using the MoD to try help his severely mentally disabled daughter. He hires and falls in love with a woman called Eva (Caity Lotz), who his helping him create human feeling and emotions in war damaged veterans. Eventually he builds a robot with the technology and thus we have the machine. 

machine 2.jpg

The thing that strikes me first and foremost about this movie is the music, or soundtrack in this case, it hearkens back to Blade runner for me with its electric score. It’s not the only thing to remind me of Blade runner either, the back-lit, moody sci –fi element and use of blacks and dark colours gives it a morbid and not exactly happy feel. We don’t really see natural light in this movie until the closing sequence. The tone of this movie gives it the horror edge as you’re never quite sure what direction it’s going to take.

Stephens is brilliant as the tortured soul, trying desperately to find a way to save his daughter as well as continue his work, starting off helping brain damaged war veterans, and then helping the machine he later will build to function as humanely as possible. Lotz playing dual roles as Eva and the machine is excellent, beautiful, flexible and deadly physically, and brilliant playing the quirky machine trying to learn the basics of life. Enter Thomson (Denis Lawson), Vincent’s boss in the MOD, looking for a weapon and impeding on Vincent’s efforts to train the machine to be human. 

The Machine as a movie can be justly compared to Blade runner, terminator, Robocop as well as numerous others. But this is movie in my opinion that should be viewed. There are parts of it that you just have to suspend your disbelief for a while, but it doesn’t hurt the overall movie. For an independent company on a low enough budget, this is a real solid offering. I really was sucked in by it, Stephens sells Vincent brilliantly and you want to see him succeed even though things start to get away from him. Thomson is the villain of the piece and hams it up when he gets the opportunity. There are moments of this film that are poignant and sweet in amongst the goings on.

As for the horror elements? There is plenty of bloodshed in this movie, but all applies to the situations our characters are faced with. The special effects are top notch, and especially in the creation of the machine. There are a few uncomfortable spots in the movie that suit it perfectly. It’s got a fantastic vision, colours, and story and is tremendously acted. The director mentioned recently at the Tribeca festival that his next project was a full on horror movie, and after viewing this? I can’t wait!

What I liked: Lotz nailing the dual roles, great acting, fight sequences, mood and soundtrack.

What I didn’t like:  the last part of the movie felt rushed, but it’s only a minor complaint!

If you have an opinion on the movie or my review, feel free to comment below!


Al’s rating: 6/10