Its time for the next double feature! This time we have a double Netflix Original sci-fi films. The first being 2018’s Tau and paired with the recently released I Am Mother.
Let’s check it out!
Director: Federico D’Alessandro
Cast: Maika Monroe, Ed Skrein, Gary Oldman
A woman is held captive by a scientist in a futuristic smart house, and hopes to escape by reasoning with the Artificial Intelligence that controls the house. – IMDB
One location films are always quite alluring to watch. It needs to set its space and utilize its surroundings. While Tau is mostly set in one location or at least in one building for the majority of the film, the film doesn’t only manage to use its environment to its advantage but rather it uses the main character’s relationship with an AI. Its about the future where a scientist tries kidnaps disposable people for his experiments to test his technology. In the process, this woman ends up destroying a part of his lab and ends up in his living quarters which is controlled by this AI called Tau who manages the entire house from the scientist’s needs to being the security system and so on. However, it taps into the desire for higher intelligence to learn and their desire to become human. The need for more knowledge and the curiosity builds a connection is what ends up manipulating Tau into falling for the charms of this woman.
Tau lies heavily on its characters. While it stumbles a little in its set-up and even some of the logic, its not a bad film. Maika Monroe takes up the main female protagonist role and does a fairly decent job as she uses her observation to connect with Tau, voiced by Gary Oldman, using his desires as his weaknesses. Gary Oldman takes up the voice work for Tau in a very impressive way. In some ways, Tau is resembled to a child and his bonds and loyalties also become altered as he learns more information and of the “deception” around him. Ed Skrein takes up the role of the scientist who is in a time crunch to prove that his new technology works and of course, with the resistant subject, it becomes harder and ends up causing him a lot of trouble.
Tau plays around with not only the concept of control between the different characters as well as manipulation. At the same time, one of the downfalls is overusing the emphasis of how creepy the scientist is. Ed Skrein spends a lot of time simply observing Maika Monroe’s character from afar and it highlights on her playing on his desires to be close to her and being reluctant, which seems pretty unnecessary in the spectrum of things and feels like its done only for one purpose, making some of the scenes feel a little force in the flow of events rather than it being a more natural evolution. Overall, Tau has its better and weaker elements.
I Am Mother (2019)
Director: Grant Sputore
Cast: Luke Hawker, Rose Byrne, Tahlia Sturzaker, Clara Rugaard, Hilary Swank
A teenage girl is raised underground by a kindly robot “Mother” — designed to repopulate the earth following the extinction of mankind. But their unique bond is threatened when an inexplicable stranger arrives with alarming news. – IMDB
Almost set in a one location throughout the entire film, I Am Mother uses the concept of a post-apocalyptic future where a robot is tasked with repopulating mankind starting with a girl. However, as the girl gets older, she starts suspecting what is outside the bunker especially after a stranger starts telling her that the robots are not what they seem. I Am Mother manages to drive its suspicions quite deep even with its tight cast revolving three characters, two humans and one robot. The thrills are quite good and to be honest, one of the most outstanding parts of the film is Mother, voiced by Rose Byrne, who not only grasps the tone very well to control the atmosphere in the bunker but also the robot design itself in its movements particularly is rather creepy especially in how it captures its speed.
While robot design and atmosphere takes a lot of credit for this film’s great execution, young actress Clara Rugaard and seasoned actress Hilary Swank does put in great performances. At the same time, the story itself is also quite clever. Its one that keeps its audience wondering along with the young girl who is telling the truth and who is lying and if so, what is the bigger plot behind it all. While questioning, what the outside world is like in this version of the post-apocalypse. Even the ending is well thought out and gives a good wrap-up to the story that addresses its many questions set out and even ties up some loose ends.
I Am Mother is definitely one of the excellent Netflix Originals to have been made. While I’m not quite a sci-fi fan, this one delivers on almost every element.