Saturday, 12 May 2018

Singularity (2017)

There are two ways to view Singularity, funnily enough. On the one hand, it's an uninspired and unoriginal slice of sci-fi that focuses on the development of sophisticated A.I. On the other hand, it's yet another nail in the coffin of John Cusack's film career, an actor who can no longer seem to appear in anything without looking either completely bored or like he's forgotten how to actually do the main thing that has paid his bills for decades.

The actual story is . . . well, it's really dull. Cusack is a powerful CEO who introduces his latest creation to the world, Kronos. Kronos is designed to end all wars and protect the planet from threat, and it then decides that all humans are the biggest threat. Moving forward a number of years, we then journey along with a young man named Andrew (Julian Schaffner) and a young woman named Calia (Jeannine Wacker). Calia is quite wary and wonders about Andrew, but does she have good reason to?

Written and directed by Robert Kouba (from a story he shaped with Sebastian Cepeda), this is a film that feels like the work of a first-timer and, lo and behold, it is. Kouba has a number of shorts to his credit, but no features, from what I can see. He obviously had faith in the idea at the centre of Singularity and it's no surprise that he couldn't really see all of the big mistakes he was making along the way, either because he was too close to the work or because he lost track as one compromise was made after another. What IS surprising is how he convinced enough people to get on board with what must have been, I can only imagine, a flimsy pitch. Because there's nothing much here, despite Kouba attempting to fill the runtime with unnecessary moments to make you think that smart sci-fi is being served up.

I've already mentioned the rigor mortis that has almost completely taken over John Cusack, but that wouldn't be so bad if the leads were better. Let's face it, Cusack isn't given much screentime here and received his pay for a day of work that would allow Kouba to use his name. Unfortunately, the leads aren't all that good either. Wacker is the better of the two, and she tries her hardest with the weak script, but Schaffner is just poor, and there's a supporting role for Carmen Argenziano that doesn't show his skills off in a good light either.

There are a lot of good sci-fi movies out there, many of them from the past decade. Some have a lot of money poured into them, some don't. Scour the shelves of whatever virtual "video store" you use nowadays and pick a few, the chances are that you'll have something better than this one. This is awful, despite a level of technical competence that lifts it from the very bottom of the barrel.


Americans can punish themselves by buying this disc.

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