This Twilight Zone-format, sci-fi thriller has PTSD-afflicted George Almore (Theo James, Divergent) trying to recreate his dead wife Jules (Stacy Martin) as an artificial intelligence inside the Archive. It’s a taut, claustrophobic, high-concept piece from writer/director Gavin Rothery.
Visited by Orwellian bureaucrat Mr Sinclair (the ever reliable Toby Jones) and harangued by his corporate superior (Rhona Mitra), it becomes clear George is pursuing his own agenda despite the opposition.
Sealed in a bunkered research laboratory, James gets to brood and seethe in a lo-fi mechanical world. Most of George’s contact with key characters is through old fashioned hard-wired telephones; his robots prototypes are clunky reminders of Silent Running.
His only venture into the outside world is a surreal Blade Runner-ish experience with Hans Peterson’s corporate security specialist.
The third act takes a jump into Westworld territory with the Bride of Frankenstein construction of ‘J3’ and the brief exploration of whether an AI version of a person can ever be that person. Transcendence took way longer than that.
James and Martin do well despite a script full of blind alleys and flashbacks; for all it’s atmospheric execution, Archive ends up less than the sum of its parts. Like every Twilight Zone-format sci-fi, stand by for the honking great ‘twist’ at the end and tell me you didn’t see it coming. RC
Director: Gavin Rothery
Writer: Gavin Rothery
Genre: Sci Fi
Running time: 1hr 45m
Cast: Theo James, Stacy Martin, Rhona Mitra, Toby Jones, Peter Ferdinando, Hans Peterson