Sunday, 14 July 2013

On The Airplane - Part 1: A.I.

There is almost a limitless supply of films in which artificial intelligence has reached a point bordering on humanity. Mostly, this does not have a good outcome. But what if robots did  not plan an uprising and instead served their purpose of assisting their owner and fulfilling their basic purpose. This is Robot & Frank.

Frank (Frank Langella) is a retired jewel thief. He has done his time in the slammer and now his memory is failing him. he can barely see his daughter Madison (Liv Tyler) and his son, Hunter (James Marsden), is always nagging him. Frank enjoys going to his local library to his friend Jennifer (Susan Sarandon) and he often shoplifts from a local store. That is until Hunter insists on buying him a robot companion to look after him. Frank, naturally, claims he needs no such help and wants nothing more than to get rid of the thing. However after Hunter gives him no choice, he finds the Robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) has skills that will provide Frank with joy, assistance, and trouble.

The future of libraries... All digital.

With any film like this, there is a real challenge presented to the protagonist: the majority of their interaction is with an object. Langella pulls this off with absolutely no flaws. Advertised as a comedy, but Langella's performance is truly touching as well as side splitting. His comic timing is impeccable; every single gesture is planned and precise. This also applies to the more heart wrenching moments. We get an insight to all the aspects of old age from the enjoyable cynicism to the outright isolation and loneliness that comes with it. For Langella, it is something as simple as a swallow or a blink to portray every thought that crosses his mind. Almost a one man show that breaks every aspect of the emotional spectrum. A phenomenal performance.

'Well aren't we an odd couple!'

As a whole, the film is made incredibly. Visually, it is a joy; a beautiful blend of colourful comedy with dark, dismal drama. The soundtrack perfectly compliments the film, as it should do. The score is meant to emphasise emotions, not create them. But what prevails most here is the writing. Not just a well crafted script with a host of great dialogues, it is also one that evokes a range of emotional reaction from the audience.Grab a hankie, this comedy draws tears.

A wonderful piece of cinema that hits all the right spots. Touching, hilarious, and extremely well created. Open a spot on your favourite films list.

Best Bit? Watching two robots try to converse like normal humans is one of the funniest moments in cinema in a while.

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