In 2016, LA-based British film-maker Oscar Sharp directed Sunspring, a science fiction short “written” by an AI neural network called Benjamin. The bot had been fed dozens of sci-fi scripts, from whose blueprints it then created its own. While the screenplay for the slickly surfaced Archive is credited to writer-director Gavin Rothery, you wonder if a similar process might have been restaged, the movie a mulch of genre classics including but not limited to Solaris, 2001 and 2014’s Ex Machina. Hard too not to picture a Zoom tutorial between the anti-hero of that film — played by Oscar Isaac — and this one, George Almore (Theo James), another robotics visionary brooding in a tech-heavy Kubrickian pile.
Almore lives alone, but at the same time not. He’s a widower, but the consciousness of his late wife Jules (Stacy Martin) is stored in a purpose-built hard drive, commercially available in this, the near-future. Obviously it is a scenario in which nothing could go wrong, especially given his illicit attempts to build an android to house her memories, and particularly in a remote location filled with his previous experiments. For all the familiarity, the movie has the brio of good pulp and a neat surprise in store.
On digital platforms in the UK now