Meewella | Critic

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Tag: Chris Weitz

QuickView: The Creator (2023)

“She looks like a little girl now, but she’s growing. Whoever has that kid, wins the war.”


Set in 2065, The Creator imagines a future where the West has banned use of AI following a nuclear attack and seeks to impose this decision on Asia, where robot “simulants” have been embraced. Gareth Edwards is brazen in drawing inspiration from a host of past science fiction films — most notably Blade Runner’s theme of hunted simulacra and whether they are alive (cheekily borrowing the line “more human than human”), along with Avatar’s military power viewing its might as right — yet he remixes these ideas into more than mere pastiche or homage, but a modern and thoughtful exploration of persisting fears regarding artificial intelligence. The Creator suggests that we are now conscious of our role in eradicating the neanderthals and are therefore fearful of the next threat like us. Edwards started out as a visual effects artist and the heavy use of VFX is not simply a flashy crutch but vital to the world building, using grounded, weathered technology to aid immersion as well as demonstrating the “othering” of the simulants in a similar way to District 9. The vast spaceship “Nomad” is an ever-present symbol in the sky of the West’s superior firepower and determination to eradicate the perceived threat — it is a clear metaphor for American colonial influence abroad, but it also makes for strange viewing just days after the Israel-Palestine conflict reignites, particularly with the film’s secondary theme of the harshness of war and destruction of innocence. Key to The Creator is the developing relationship between John David Washington as the conflicted hero and impressive newcomer Madeleine Yuna Voyles as the simulant child. Meanwhile Allison Janney provides a foe whose single-mindedness is understandable, contrasted with Ken Watanabe’s noble simulant guerrilla fighter. The Creator has an impressive sense of scale, aided by its numerous location shoots and a grandiose Hans Zimmer score. It is not without issues — the script is often clumsy with excessive expositional dialogue and reliance on contrivance to advance the story, but this is intelligent sci-fi that manages to create a world and tell a complete story within its 133-minute runtime. The result is the most satisfied I have felt when leaving a big budget sci-fi film for several years.


QuickView: Operation Finale (2018)

“If you succeed, for the first time in our history we will judge our executioner. And we will warn off any who wishes to follow his example. If you fail, he escapes justice, perhaps forever. I beg you. Do not fail.”

David Ben-Gurion

A historical thriller based on the capture of notorious Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann (a major organiser of the Holocaust who escaped to Argentina after the war) to stand trial in Israel, Operation Finale is at its strongest in its quiet moments. Ben Kingsley as Eichmann and Oscar Isaac as Peter Malkin, one of his captors, perform compellingly as their conversations in a Mossad safehouse form a tense game in which they probe one another for weaknesses. Kingsley provides a measured portrayal of Eichmann as dispassionately remorseless rather than a frothing monster (what Hannah Arendt described as “the banality of evil”) and the film avoids melodrama in its restrained Holocaust depictions, though some will doubtless find the result too sympathetic to one who facilitated so much death. Eichmann’s personality is contrasted against the the visceral anger and desire for revenge felt by the Mossad agents forced into proximity with their enemy, as well as the guilt that haunts them for past crimes. Little time is spent on the trial itself, and the impact of worldwide broadcast of holocaust eyewitness testimony is somewhat lost in favour of the hollow sense of personal vindication.


"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

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