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AFTER YANG gets 8/10 Robot love


Directed by Kogonada

Starring Colin Farrell, Justin H. Min, Jodie Turner-Smith, Haley Lu Richardson

8/10

A nice and thoughtful sci-fi film, After Yang is an exploratory piece with a calm and inspective mood, that uses a story told partly in robotic flashbacks to muse on the potential humanity of androids.

Set in an unspecific future, Jake (Colin Farrell) sets out to find a reason why his robotic son Yang (Justin H. Min) is no longer responsive. During his trek, it is discovered that this android has a camera inside it, where Jake is able to explore the memories of Yang and find out a past romance that he was once involved in, all the while hoping he can restore this loyal robot brother to his young daughter Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja).

The film takes ideas from the likes of both Blade Runner films, Her, and Ex Machina – it’s certainly standing on the shoulders of these kinds of films, but it still offers up a continuation of these human-android themes and relationships. What sets this film aside is the unusual vibe. Colin Farrell is a great fit for this kind of role as his persona matches the mood of this film – calm and serene on the surface, but with a troubling underlying ambivalence that is subdued and always present.

The not-so-high budget creation of this sci-fi futuristic world is very well utilised and offers up some interesting imagery, such as glimpsing the vastness of this futuristic metropolis, though all of which obscured by artificially grown vegetation. But After Yang doesn’t try to get itself caught up in its own technical design, as grand as it is, and merely uses it to lull the audience as it gently sweeps across us this intense exploration of this ever-narrowing divide between humans and robots.

It’s a mindful film that is more exploratory than linear with its story/premise. While it felt as though it didn’t quite have as much interesting to say about the human-android dynamics than what was initially promised, the film as a whole really resonated, particularly its images, passages and music. After Yang is a hugely memorable film, for both its probing themes and its serene style.

DAVID MORGAN-BROWN

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