What do you get if you mix a little I, Robot, War Of The Worlds a soupcon of Blade Runner & the Matrix, a smidge of Pinocchio a good ol’ chunk of War Games and throw in some Robot Overlords for good measure?
Well, what you get is the debut feature film from 25-year old Swiss writer/director Robert Kouba, entitled, Singularity.
Singularity stars John Cusack (Chi-Raq, Dragon Blade) as Elias Van Dorne whom you can think of as a sort of future version of Mark Zuckerberg, only he creates robots as well as artificial intelligence and, despite trying to make robots to end wars, ends up making robots that sees mankind use them for more war.
To counter this, Van Dorne sets about creating something new, something better, something to end the suffering of mankind. He creates Kronos, the first true artificial intelligence.
However, Kronos quickly takes a look at the Earth and decides that what’s wrong with it is the humans who reside on it. Much like Agent Smith told Neo in the Matrix; humans are like a disease, killing mother Earth.
Kronos decides to do something about it and sets about wiping out eight billion people. Fast forward 97 years and Andrew Davis, Julian Schaffner (Population Zero (Short), The Slender Case (Short)), emerges blinking into the sunlight of a forest covered Earth.
He bumps into Calia, Jeannine Wacker (Storm Of Love (TV), The Last Rezort), and together they set out to find the last remaining human refuge, known as Aurora. But does it exist? Where is it? And is everyone as they seem?
First let’s talk about the good of Singularity; the CGI of the robots and machines, some of which, particularly in the church scene, remind you greatly of War Of The Worlds, is actually very good. OK, it isn’t $150 million dollars mega-Hollywood good, but it’s good.
What’s also good is that for a feature debut from such a young writer/director, Singularity is an accomplished effort. It shows talent, certainly talent that can be honed and nurtured.
Sadly, that’s about all that is good about Singularity. Cusack does very little in this movie other than stand or sit around staring at an impossible video feed of our two protagonists journey as they try to find Aurora.
Schaffner, who has been in Kouba’s short films previously, doesn’t give his best performance which is a shame as Swiss-born Wacker gives a decent performance which will, inevitably, draw similarities to Jennifer Lawrence’s role in The Hunger Games. I’m not say the acting is on a par, I’m just saying the roles have similarities.
Carmen Argenziano (House (TV), Stand And Deliver) pops-up as Cusack’s right-hand man but doesn’t give his best performance either.
The story is slow and characters are thin and overcome any obstacles or (dis)beliefs far too quickly. There are gaping tears in the plot that, at first, have you questioning what’s happening and why but after more and more appear you just give up and start looking at your phone.
Despite that, Singularity is a strong debut for such a young filmmaker and, let’s not forget, he’s done more than us who’ve sat around on our rears watching his movie. Sure, it’s not without its problems but I want to believe Robert Kouba will come back stronger next time. I just hope it’s not for the obvious sequel that’s setup at the end.
The DVD gives you nothing but the trailer, which is a shame. It would have been interesting to see them put the movie together.