‘While it’s not terribly boring, it is still pretty slow and uneventful’
Directed by: Federico D’Alessandro
Starring: Maika Monroe, Ed Skrein, Gary Oldman
Julia (Maika Monroe) wakes up one morning after being kidnapped, trapped in a cellar with two other victims. It is soon revealed that the man behind the kidnapping is using Julia and the other subjects by studying their brain patterns (or some science explanation he gives and largely gets ignored) and Julia soon becomes trapped inside this house, guarded by Tau (voiced by Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour), a super intelligent artificial intelligence. She soon tries to befriend Tau, much to Alex’s (Ed Skrein) frustration, as he’s aware that Tau is still not fully functional and can be manipulated.
Unfortunately this film fell so flat due to a bizarre script. While we are given three subjects early on, Julia, who doesn’t seem as fazed or as scared as the other two, manages to quite easily break free but in the ensuing struggle Subject 1 (Ivana Zivkovic) and Subject 2 (Fiston Barek) are murdered, leaving only Julia alive. An interesting part of 10 Cloverfield Lane was the fact he had two prisoners (or survivors, whichever way you look at it), meaning they could talk to one another and conspire to escape. Tau leaves no option for that as they’re killed off immediately. She is then left in the middle of a hallway-like room, banned from exploring, rather than a cell and she eats dinner with Alex and is friendly to Tau and there is a scene of sexual tension between Alex and Julia and it becomes confusing as to whether she’s a prisoner or a kept woman. Also it’s so obviously foreshadowed that she’ll befriend Tau that it becomes ridiculous to believe Alex would have left them alone in knowing it could have happened (the final scene is also stupidly foreshadowed earlier on in the film which was disappointing). And Subjects 2 and 3 are never replaced, which seems to negate the need to have had them in the first place.
The whole film takes place in the house, too (bar the opening scene where’s she’s kidnapped from her room) so we only see Alex leaving for work without ever knowing what exactly he’s doing or where exactly he’s going. We’re just left with Julia doing puzzles which aren’t explained to us and having a conversation with a computer (remember Tau is a computer) about trees and people. Made all the more bizarre by the fact that Tau can be punished and can feel pain (remember Tau is a computer), leading to one scene where Julia is almost free but goes back to save Tau from more punishment (remember Tau is a computer).
Some of Tau’s actions are quite exciting, though, as he can control the whole house and has soldiers that can kill on sight (as proven with Subjects 2 and 3 being murdered), and the end sequence, despite being awfully foreshadowed, is quite fun. While it’s not terribly boring, it is still pretty slow and uneventful during the middle part with Julia and Tau having nice conversations before Julia and Alex have dinner and some weird negotiations (one scene she tries to negotiate clothes and a shower in order to comply with his experiments and he begins negotiating until she demands too much then he just threatens her; what was even the point of negotiating if threatening her will result in what he wants without having to do anything for it?). Despite its high audience score on Rotten Tomatoes (53%), it should be seen closer to the Tomatometer score (29%). A pretty bland film with a majorly slow middle with some strange script choices, albeit the ending sequence and Tau’s dominance, in scenes, do make for some fun.
Personal: * * Acting: * * Writing: * Presentation: * *
Overall Rating: * ¾