"...it helped put me into another world and it made me forget the things that bothered me"

Me2 twist on Ex Machina recommended for sci fi fans

(090618) Tau is a not particularly intelligent, but it is exciting and the plot is relatively absorbing. The sci fi/action film recently opened on Netflix on June 29 to mostly brutally negative reviews. The film is about a spirited young streetwise woman who is captured by a megalomaniacal scientist who uses her for his artificial intelligence related experiments.

The screenplay includes elements of cyberpunk, torture porn (which I normally despise) and there is even a little bit of “Electric Dreams “in the film. The opening with the purple haired emo girl (she takes off her wig) being abducted could be a homage to Run Lola Run.

Go to:
http://www.artinterviews.org/cinema/franka-potente-interview to see my interview with the star of that movie. The underrated, Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, “Beneath You” has a similar sequence with a potential slayer running from mysterious assailants.

In a way the film is like a Me2 era twist on 2015's Ex Machina (spoiler alert) which features a cybernetic femme fatale who tricks a human male into thinking she loves him. In Tau, a woman befriends an artificial intelligence program that starts to develop feelings for her, and he tries to help her escape.

The cast is mostly convincing although the film probably will not gain any Oscar nominations for acting. Maika Monroe Buckley does a decent job in the lead as Julia, but the script does not make too many demands upon her. She is perhaps best known for her fine work in It Follows, a surprisingly good Indy horror film that rose to the quality level of a good art film. Her empathetic performance as the gutsy protagonist, who never quits, prevented me from thinking about the shortcomings and predictability of the script. For every second of the film, I could not help rooting for her and the A.I. She is a promising talent and I would like to see more of her work.

Gary Oldman provides his great voice for the human like A.I., Tau, and Ed Skreen (he was a villain in Deadpool) portrays the Machiavellian scientist who experiments on her. In every way he is less human than the A.I. he created, which of course leads the viewer to question what it human. Not enough is done with this theme.

The film is the feature debut for D'Alessandro, an art department veteran who worked on many Marvel films. The film is a bit over directed and some audiences might get sick of seeing everything shot though gaudy green or red filters.

David Goyer, the former comic book writer who wrote the Blade trilogy (as well as a fine run on Justice Society) and (Blech) Batman vs. Superman, produced the film, and the movie does have a certain comic booky feel.

Julia is a lowlife thief/grifter and down on her luck loser, which may be part of the reason, she was abducted. You get the idea that not too many people would miss her, but by the end of the film, she becomes a formidable hero.

After she is abducted she is placed into a cell with two battered cellmates, but they have almost been broken by the painful experiments, and they are hesitant to try to escape. She eventually almost gets out, but at the last minute, but a fearsome robot who easily executes the other prisoners captures her.

She soon is placed in the ritzy apartment of her captor who wants to uses the results of his experiments on her to get a billion dollar contract with a sinister corporation. He seems to have a creepy crush on her. You get the sense that he is uneasy with women and when he buys her lingerie she responds, “You know you are really weird don’t you?” and he agrees.

Julia temporarily agrees to go along with his plans in exchange for some small demands. She asks for new clothes, better food, and she wants to be able to take showers. It is clear she is biding her time so she can plan another escape.

She begins to befriend Tau, who loves highbrow culture and has a passion for classical music (he would be better to talk to than most of the people at the last party I went to). Julia helps teach him all about humanity. He is also interested about the outside world because he has been trapped inside all his life. When she tries to describe the outside world, she is like the man in Plato’s Allegory of the cave who escaped and tried to explain the outside world to the men that are still in chains. However, unlike the men in the allegory, Tau believes her and begins to yearn to live outside the confines of the house. The relationship between them is more touching and real than most of what passes for love connection in many romantic films.

Tau is a bit long and there is too much dead time in the middle. In addition, there is little that is particularly new or revolutionary in the film, but at least for most of its duration, it helped put me into another world and it made me forget the things that bothered me. The film is recommended with reservations primarily for sci-fi and comic fans.

Directed by:  Federico D'Alessandro
Written by:  Noga Landau
Starring:   Maika Monroe Buckley, Gary Oldman, Ed Skreen
Released:  062918
Length: 97 minutes
Rating:   Rated R for language and violence

For more writings by Vittorio Carli go to www.artinterviews.org
and www.chicagopoetry.org

TAU  ©  2018 Kaos Theory Entertainment
Review © 2018 Alternate Reality, Inc.