A budget Blade Runner, sci-fi thriller Automata takes place in a dystopian future where robots are starting to violate their strict security protocols and modify themselves. The discovery forces Antonio Banderas’s burned-out insurance agent to flee the city with a bunch of renegade robots, taking him away from his pregnant wife (Borgen’s Birgitte Hjort Sørensen) and putting him in the cops’ gun-sights. Shot in Bulgaria by Spanish filmmakers and a multinational cast, Automata has some interesting ideas but is let down by its clunky script and even clunkier acting. Banderas is good, though, and things improve when the supporting cast thins out, leaving us to admire the film’s striking visuals and ponder the hero’s existential crisis as he learns that some machines don’t obey their makers.
Certificate 15. Runtime 105 mins. Director Gabe Ibáñez.
Automata is released On Demand on 27th April & on Blu-ray and DVD on 11th May by Lionsgate UK http://youtu.be/3ScLYL10l4Q
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A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.