I’ve been tidying up this site recently. It’s been online (in one shape or another) for almost 25 years now, as inconceivable as that might seem. The original, hand-coded incarnation of djmoody.co.uk appeared in 1999, and was replaced with this WordPress site in 2008. You’d be surprised how much crap accumulates over time – broken links, broken images, broken promises…
Equally remarkably, according to my RECOMMENDATIONS page, since 2009 I’ve written about more than 100 movies, most of them positively. Check out the full list here. As I’m not in a position to share any writing news with you this week, I thought I’d post my 99th recommendation instead.
ARCHIVE (2020) is a really interesting science-fiction film with an incredible aesthetic. That’s only to be expected, given that it was the directorial debut of GAVIN ROTHERY, the conceptual designer and visual effects supervisor of one of my favourite films of all time, DUNCAN JONES’S MOON.
2038: George Almore is working on a true human-equivalent AI. His latest prototype is almost ready. This sensitive phase is also the riskiest. Especially as he has a goal that must be hidden at all costs.Read more: Archive
There are definite TWILIGHT ZONE overtones here (okay, more BLACK MIRROR given the technology in question), in that the reasons for George’s experiments have, as a result of the sudden death of his wife, become more personal. You guessed it – he’s pushing so hard to perfect the human-equivalent AI in order that he can upload the conscience of his late wife to it and not lose her forever. There’s a fascinating McGuffin used in that, in the world of ARCHIVE, after someone dies, it’s possible to communicate with them through an analogue system for up to 200 hours. That deadline, as well as providing an explanation as to how his late wife’s conscience is preserved, gives the movie a ticking clock with which to drive the plot forward.
This film looks stunning. I know, looks aren’t everything, but Rothery imbues the movie with such a strong sense of style that it complements, rather than distracts, from the atmosphere. A cliché, I know, but the world feels lived in and functional, and that lends weight to the further fetched science-fiction elements of the story. Performances across the board are excellent, even if some of the characters don’t feel fully fleshed out.
ARCHIVE isn’t a completely satisfying film, but it is a very good one. Some of the punches pulled don’t quite hit home. There’s a lot going on, with influences as diverse as FRANKENSTEIN and SILENT RUNNING competing for attention. That said, there’s a hell of a lot to recommend here.
As usual, this isn’t intended as a review – more a recommendation. If you enjoyed any of the movies I’ve mentioned above, and if you loved MOON as much as I did, then ARCHIVE is definitely worth a couple of hours of your time.