ANDROID's setup is, well, rote by now. A tech giant creates a life-like artificial intelligence and we, the audience, spend the next 90-minutes gawking at the robot in a bizarre voyeuristic way as it learns human behaviour, emotion and analyses the machinations of everyday life that we take for granted.
The tech-mogul responsible for the AI is Castle (an oddly straight-laced performance by Rainn Wilson, who has barely any screen-time in order for the poster to drop a recognisable name) a shadowy, slightly suspicious money-provider who invites tech-journalist Joy (Lucy Griffins) to his clinical and emotionally void base of operations to meet robotics nerd David Kressen and his pal Adam (gettit?).
Adam, it turns out, is an AI, so realistic and nuanced that Joy cannot tell the difference between it and an socially awkward young adult. As the writer sticks around to research the article a romance begins to bloom between her and Kressen and this sends Adam on a downward, dangerous spiral.
Sound familiar? It should. It's almost EXACTLY the same plot as Alex Garland's incredible debut, EX-MACHINA from 2015. The catch is that ANDROID was actually filmed in 2012 and it's production was stalled due to budgetary constraints. ANDROID is almost a perfect composite of both EX-MACHINA and MORGAN yet pre-dates both of them considerably.
Plot issues aside, there is always something engaging about watching androids evolving, and watching them not take for granted the things that humans do, such as feeling cold water or the sun on their face. Here the fascination comes from watching a robot learn the toxic traits of jealously.
David Clayton Rogers portrayal of Adam is a curious one. It's a fine line to strike between innocent, wide-eyed wonder and dangerously unhinged obsession but Webber does just fine; soft when needed and razor-sharp in turn.
British thesp Lucy Griffins ditches True Blood to play the yank reporter. Her 7-day assignment time-frame leaves Joy with very little to do for most of the time (why did her boss think 7 days were the magic number and not the 48hrs it probably should have taken?) but she's intelligent and engaging enough that watching her observe someone else is just enough to keep us interested... just.
If there's a real weak element in the acting trifecta it's undoubtedly Marc Webber's Kressen. He's too nerdy and has such little depth that it's hard to see why someone like Lucy would ever be enamoured by him. But, alas, without him there would be no plot. Take the good with the bad, as the man says. In the end ANDROID is a handsome enough distraction, especially given its limited budget, with performances that pass the grade even if the plot is one we've seen a hundred times before. A tried and true formula, I guess.
ANDROID is released on 08/03/2017 through Eagle Entertainment.