Simulating | Recycled idea, tasteless result

In the not so distant future, it is possible to upload the memories and behaviors of dead humans into androids called Simulant. These are subject to four great precepts in order to ensure their control. But what happens when a programmer disables them and allows the Simulant to develop its own consciousness?

Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics are the basis of many books, films and series. The principle is always the same: what would be the result if one or all of these laws were violated? simulating is no exception, although the precepts are somewhat different and there is one more. Ryan Christopher Churchill’s screenplay therefore does not invent anything.

In April Mullen’s feature film (Wander), the Nexxera company has developed a new generation of androids that are practically indistinguishable from a human. While the first models – terrifying, in our eyes – were personal assistants, the most recent ones have as their main function to replace missing loved ones. They manage to “simulate” the presence of the deceased by importing their memory and personality into their system.

Following a car accident, Faye (Jordana Brewster), who formed a – very wealthy – couple with Evan (Robbie Amell), acquires a Simulant to replace the latter. After a while, she realizes that her lover’s reply does not help her mourn. Normally, the robot should have been deactivated, but Casey (Simu Liu), a programmer, instead removes its precepts in order to allow it to develop its own consciousness and win Faye back. Unsurprisingly, Casey didn’t “free” Evan because he has a big heart.

Meanwhile, Artificial Intelligence Compliance Enforcement’s Kessler (Sam Worthington) investigates another freed Simulant, Esme (Alicia Sanz). Dark, the policeman who seems inhabited by a hatred of robots softens in contact with it. Until…

In the last 20 minutes, the paths of all these characters finally cross, but it’s too late.

Despite the talent of the actors brought together, none of the three parallel stories is captivating enough to sustain our interest until the end, even if the film lasts barely more than 90 minutes. If only it was only because of his lack of action.

The generic dialogues punctuated with pseudotechnical vocabulary are deeply boring. The terribly serious tone fails to communicate the seriousness of the issues. The music makes us unhook so much its heaviness is exaggerated.

Although the action takes place in a snowy Hamilton, Ontario, hardly futuristic – except for a few holograms -, it feels very far from what we are told. However, the constant evolution of artificial intelligence leaves no doubt that humanoid robots may exist one day. Those from simulating just aren’t on point.



science fiction


April Mullen

With Sam Worthington, Simu Liu, Jordana Brewster

1:35 a.m.


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