Artificial intelligence has been one of the pinnacle points of storytelling in sci-fi films. Eerily enough, AI has been a broad topic of discussion not only with our real-world technological advancements but also when it comes to Hollywood and how a lot of these major studios are doing their absolute best to make AI the face of everything. As we’ve seen countless times before, artificial intelligence becoming sentient and destructive remains one of the most concerning things about this feat of technological advancements. And as we’ve heard countless times before, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
‘Terminator’, ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, ‘Ex Machina’, and ‘I, Robot’ just to name a few have shown us time and time again the possible outcomes and the future of mankind if artificial intelligence becomes dangerously sentient. Spencer Brown’s directorial debut, T.I.M. threads that same line while also implementing the ugly side of the deep fake and how real-time deep fakes can become a possibility.
T.I.M. follows Abi (Georgina Campbell), a prosthetics engineer, and her husband Paul (Mark Rowley) as they adapt to a new life outside the city to try and better their marriage after their many failed attempts at bearing children while also overcoming Paul’s past infidelity. Abi’s latest project, the A.I. humanoid T.I.M. (Eamon Farren), initially appears as the perfect aid. Programmed to serve only her and all of her needs. T.I.M., just like any other form of technology we use today, is there to make her life easier. Unfortunately, for Abi, her T.I.M. is defective. As the sentient android transforms from a helpful servant into a perilous obsessed-driven robot deadset on replacing Abi’s husband Paul.
What makes this film work to a degree is the slow build-up to T.I.M.’s murderous transformation and Georgina Campbell’s strong performance. Unfortunately, that’s where the film starts and ends. Eamon Farren does his absolute best to be believable as a synthetic humanoid, unfortunately, his performance comes off as very cartoonish. Now this could all be lent to him by portraying an ever-learning robot built up on artificial intelligence steadily growing obsessed with its creator. Strangely enough, the film doesn’t provide much reasoning for T.I.M. to become too dreadfully obsessed with Abi other than just because.
Keep in mind that this is a project that’s built on artificial intelligence that has not been fully realized, with an emphasis on rushed development for the sole sake of “beating the Chinese”. One can only wonder why is it that Abi’s manservant is the only robot that is defective when the entire employment staff is supposedly granted one to test out in their homes.
This all works in T.I.M.’s favor as he expands the growing rift between Abi and Paul as she suspects that he is once again being unfaithful to her with their new neighbor. Going to the extent of doing a real-time deep fake to frame Paul as such. Going even further as to murder him once the truth starts to come to light. It’s a real tragedy honestly and the only saving grace, if there even is one, is Campbell. I just wish this film could’ve been more for her. To see her go from ‘Barbarian’ to this is…well…(that’s the only film I’ve seen her, so that’s all I can base my opinion on).
As the truth reveals itself Abi has to fight for her life while also destroying the one thing she helped create…wow that just got REAL BIBLICAL…JESUS…pun intended? No? … While also saving her neighbor Rose, who she thought was having an affair with her husband. Things end on a rather somber note, after all of this hoopla, murder, obsession, infidelity, infertility, and “shutting down the robot”, Abi’s smartwatch reveals that she is now pregnant. Gee thanks, that’s reassuring knowing that her husband was murdered, chopped into pieces, and buried in her backyard while her “dead” creation is still looming somewhere.
Not to mention the fact that Abi and Paul overcame not just his infidelity, they worked on regaining each other’s trust and the mental, physical, and emotional toll it takes when dealing with and overcoming infertility, especially when you want to bear children. Good to know that this child will now be raised by a single, widowed mother who will never trust technology again and will most definitely move to a secluded countryside.
What happens with the rest of the T.I.M.s now? Are they on recall? On a serious note, I see what T.I.M. wanted to do and aimed to do. Highlight humanity’s overdependence on the simplicity and ease of life that technology provides. While also highlighting the dangers of artificial intelligence and the deep fake. All of these things can be very troubling and dangerous when used incorrectly, but the way this film goes about it is unimaginative and uninspiring. All the while believable while being very unbelievable. Does that make sense? Neither does this film…
‘T.I.M.’ is now available to buy and rent on digital.
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