I did not review “I Am Mother” (Netflix, 06.07.19) when I saw its premiere at this past January’s Sundance Film Festival. Mostly because it doesn’t bring anything new to the genre. We already know that if you’re making a sci-fi about artificial intelligence then you most likely will have to deal with the, ahem, downside in accepting robots as “one of us.”
“The second some human gives artificial intelligence and sentience to a robot, we’re all doomed,” Charles Barfield aptly mentioned over at The Playlist. The likes of “The Terminator,” “I, Robot,” and “Prometheus” are just a few examples. If you’ve seen those movies then “I Am Mother” won’t feel fresh or new. Except for, of course, its decision to have a female lead (Hilary Swank) be the heroine of this story.
The film has to do with a teenage girl (Clara Rugaard), the first of a new generation of humans to be raised by Mother (Rose Byrne), a robot designed to repopulate the earth after the mankind’s extinction. They both live in an airtight hub that has closed itself from the outside world around them. However, Swank’s injured stranger breaches their security system and stumbles upon their domicile. She starts to tell the girl that Mother, and her A.I. cohorts, actually has ill-conceived intentions and that they should both destroy Mother and escape to a safe zone.
The film is the feature directing debut by Grant Sputore — his direction is slick, maybe a little too over-stylized, but it is immensely aided by Hugh Bateup’s excellent production design. Despite the film’s indie background it does really look like wonderfully conceived world-building. Too bad Michael Lloyd Green’s script lacks the fresh and incisive sting we try to look for in above-average sci-fi fare.
As mentioned earlier on, “I am Mother” had its debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and the reviews were fairly mixed at best. You can consider this to be my final thoughts on the film. I really don’t have much to say about it beyond this, it really is a non-starter. [C]