A science fiction film that recognizes established boundaries and seeks to expand them, Archive is a beautiful story of loss, reinvention, free will, and tragedy told with precision and care.
The year is 2038 and one man (Theo James) is attempting to build an A.I. in his deceased wife’s (Stacy Martin) image. Alone in a remote location with the first two robotic attempts, his timeframe is accelerated when one of his creations falls into the wrong hands. Writer/director Gavin Rothery rhythmically tells a simple, yet impactful tale with the use of stunning scenery, immersive ambiance, and practical effects that embed viewers in the story. Jame’s portrayal of a determined widower is poignant and convincing while Martin navigates the intensity of feelings associated with her character’s crafted resurrection in a way that demands empathy.
Where Archive falters is in the dynamics of the story it is trying to tell; minor characters arrive on the scene and disappear just as quickly while more complicated forces seem to be at play in the larger world, yet are not given much attention. But it is the overall core tale within this sci-fi world that carries the film and forces your investment in the human drama set among the backdrop of a futuristic society and buoyed by the performances of its two leads. Archive is most certainly one of my favorite films of the year.
Photo from Metro Philadelphia