ARCHIVE is a new sci-fi movie. The storyline deals with both AI and a futuristic take on how you can extend your lifespan. Well, sort of, anyway. It’s more about keeping your mind alive when your body dies. Read our full Archive review here!
ARCHIVE is a new sci-fi movie with a truly stunning visual design. Of course, this should come as no surprise when you realize the writer-director behind the movie has worked in the art department on movies previously. More on that later.
For a long time, I was completely on board with the story. The main character, however, does become increasingly desperate and unlikable to a degree I wasn’t expecting. I’m not complaining about this, but rather stating facts. What I would complain about (to a small degree) is the fact that it does run a bit too long for my liking.
Had it been just a good 15 minutes shorter, I think the overall experience would have improved quite a bit. Continue reading our Archive movie review below.
The gorgeous look of Archive
As mentioned in the introduction of this review, Archive does have a truly gorgeous visual look. Also, I mentioned that this comes as no surprise when you look up the past experience of this movie’s writer-director. His name is Gavin Rothery and he was the conceptual designer and head of graphic design on Duncan Jones’ Moon (2009).
If you’ve watched Moon, then Archive will have a very familiar look and feel. Right down to shots and camera angles.
However, with this storyline, we’re in a remote research facility that has nothing to do with outer space. Instead, we’re dealing with the development of AI robots and bringing people back from death. Yes, in a very literal way!
Few characters portrayed strongly
Since most of the storyline plays out at this remote facility, we also have just a few characters. Mostly, we have one character, George Almore, who is working with building AI robots. Through his work, he isn’t entirely alone since he does have his robots.
When the movie opens, he has begun working on the third version of this AI. We meet the first and second version and there is clearly a huge jump to this third version. Essentially, he has now built a very lifelike AI robot. Of course, this also means he doesn’t appear to actually be alone. He always has someone to talk to.
George Almore is portrayed by Theo James, who you’ll recognize from the Divergent trilogy and a few Underworld movies. Also, he starred in the Netflix movie How It Ends from 2018.
Recommended reading: Our review of the apocalyptic Netflix movie How It Ends here >
The AI is voiced and portrayed by the same actor, who plays George Almore’s late wife. Her name is Stacy Martin and you may recognize her from High-Rise (2015) or Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac.
Other important supporting characters, in very small roles, are played by Rhona Mitra and Toby Jones. You should recognize Rhona Mitra from Doomsday (2008) or maybe The Strain TV series. Toby Jones has been in several Captain America movies as well as Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and even The Snowman (read our review of that mess here!).
Watch Archive on digital and VOD
Writer-Director Gavin Rothery has created a stunning movie from a visual perspective. The storyline also works for most of the runtime. It’s simply a shame that it drags out too much before going to the third and final arc.
However, I would still absolutely recommend checking it out if you like sci-fi movies. Particular if you’re also partial to storylines with AI plots. It does have a slow-burn quality that I like, but when it should be picking up, it seems to fall asleep on itself a bit.
The very end of Archive does make up for a lot of the runtime issues, I may have. I’m the irritating kind of movie-watcher, who cannot help but try to guess the ending. And yes, I managed to do that with the Archive ending as well. However, it did not in any way ruin it for me. On the contrary, I was thinking this would be the very best ending, so I cheered when it came!
Archive is out in Virtual Cinema screenings, On Demand and Digital on July 10, 2020.
Director: Gavin Rothery
Writer: Gavin Rothery
Stars: Theo James, Stacy Martin, Rhona Mitra, Toby Jones
2038: George Almore is working on a true human-equivalent AI. His latest prototype is almost ready. This sensitive phase is also the riskiest. Especially as he has a goal that must be hidden at all costs: being reunited with his dead wife.