MOVIE REVIEW – They couldn’t have given a more apt title than Mother/Android to the sci-fi action-adventure film that was released on Netflix yesterday, on Hulu, last December, because as confusing and clunky as the title is, it also defines itself by its inability to decide what it’s really about. It’s safe to say that the creators have taken a good ‘swipe’ from two classic PlayStation 4 games.
“Gee, it’s Detroit: Become Human!” I exclaimed when the first frames of the film depicted a society in which androids are seemingly polite servants, employees and used in other areas of life, but then they rebel. Then, when they get out of control, it’s post-apocalypse and road movie through the wilderness and often hostile human communities, starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Algee Smith as Georgia and Sam: a young couple on the run to eradicate humanity.
Clichés and thievery are everywhere, with original ideas left out like tipping
The story is that Georgia is pregnant and, together with Sam, they’re planning a happy future when disaster strikes for the first time and runaway robots start slaughtering everyone in their peaceful American town. We don’t really find out why later in the film, but at least after the heavily Detroit build-up, the atmosphere of The Last of Us is still there, bringing back fond memories for PlayStation fans.
Unfortunately, from this point onwards, the script has nothing positive to offer, and is full of terribly illogical twists and turns. Right from the start, when Gergia and Sam find themselves in a paramilitary organisation’s camp and are forced out because of a stupid conflict, even though Georgia’s pregnancy is not negligible for the survival of humanity (if we ignore humanity as such), but the hysterical leader of the camp doesn’t particularly care.
Later on, the mood of The Last of Us grows stronger, as the young couple wander through a forest and come across an abandoned house, for example, but their foolish decisions soon erode this positive mood.
A mass of unconvincing, clumsy performances…
Chloë Grace Moretz has never been an actress’s pearl, but in this film she really struggled to sell to me that she is now a mother worried about her own life, her child’s life and the fate of her partner. The crocodile tears are not missing, of course, but otherwise the actress rarely managed to convey the right emotions, even though this is not a difficult role.
Algee Smith’s performance is similarly weak, even though the 27-year-old actor (no relation to Will Smith) has already appeared in some serious films. (Detroit, The Hate You Give, etc.) And the chemistry between the two is pretty much reduced to zero. Raúl Castillo is also not brilliant as Arthur, the unexpected sidekick, so none of the three main characters “carry the film”.
Total lack of logic, badly built tension
Of course, it is not necessarily their fault that this film is so weak, but rather the illogical and clumsy story and the groaning dialogue, and the poorly constructed tension (except for one scene) are the main problems. In any case, the film’s universe was not given much attention by writer and director Mattson Tomlin, so it is not clear why the androids really rebelled, what countermeasures the US government tried to take, or what other communities were formed.
Tomlin has stolen from Detroit and Last of Us, but he hasn’t been able to bring to the table a universe that is as elaborate or a story that is at least remotely believable. And the film’s stunningly silly conclusion only adds to the whole thing.