Director: Gavin Rothery
Runtime: 109 minutes
Cast: Theo James, Stacy Martin, Rhona Mitra, Toby Jones
Synopsis: In 2038 a man hopes to reunite with his dead wife by building a human-equivalent A.I.
Archive is the feature debut of illustrator and visual-effects director Gavin Rothery and is a beautifully shot artificial intelligence thriller – a tale of love, death and robotics. Set in 2038, it centres on lonely computer scientist, George Almore [Theo James – Divergent (2014), Insurgent (2015), Allegiant (2016)] who is on the verge of a breakthrough and is stationed at a remote, secret facility. He has been working on a model that is a true, human equivalent android.
His latest prototype, J3, is almost complete.
Development of J3 has been achieved through two earlier prototypes, J1 and J2. Each prototype is an increasingly advanced version of his wife, Jules [Stacey Martin – The Serpent (TV miniseries, 2021), All the Money in the World (2017), High-Rise (2015)] who died in a brutal car crash.
Driven by love for Jules, George has secretly skewed the focus of his work – developing the robots towards the goal of creating a simulacra of Jules.
Through the different J-prototypes, George experiences aspects of his wife he never did when she was alive. And although each prototype develops their own love for George, their respective development gives their relationship with George individual characteristics.
At the same time, Jules is still present in George’s life via a new form of life-extension technology – the Archive. However, when the Archive unit comes to a critical point of near-failure, it becomes more crucial than ever for George to complete the construction of J3 before he loses Jules completely.
As his work approaches its final and riskiest stages, external forces threaten to discover and shutdown his facility, while the introduction of the highly advanced J3 collapses the delicate ‘family’ balance inside the facility.
While Archive may be using familiar tropes and the occasional cliche, impressive production design, special effects and a beautiful atmospheric score by Steven Price [Gravity (2013)] plus a surprising ending make this exploration of love and loss an interesting watch.
Archive is streaming on digital platforms
Images courtesy of Universal Pictures