Although you could, if you were unkind, dismiss this as a weird Judge Dredd fan-film, or a cheap knockoff of sadly missed TV favourite “Almost Human”, there’s something surprisingly meaty and interesting about this. As far as ISCFC-reviewed movies go, it’s in the bottom 10% in terms of budget but I’d say the top 10% in terms of inventiveness and ideas. So read on with me, then get yourself to a VOD place and buy yourself a copy.
In the not-too-distant future, terrorism is rife, robots control many aspects of our daily lives, and most cops have android partners. Officer Hawkins (Virginia Logan) is dispatched to a normal tower block on a normal case, but runs into all sorts of different groups – a gang of teen junkies, a lazy building supervisor, a family with an odd religious affiliation, some terrorists and their tech genius, a huge hulking robot cleaning device…plus, something is causing all the machines in the building to malfunction; throw in a government conspiracy and you’ve got yourself a tense little thriller.
It’s set entirely inside one building, with a lot of action taking place in corridors, stairwells and claustrophobic little rooms. The budget was obviously microscopic, but the people behind this film decided to do something different – use everything to their advantage. Rather than have everything look like a cheap digital camera, they use the conceit of half the movie being from the robot’s POV, so the screen is filled with the data on his viewscreen; there’s static and weird colours and every effect in the book to make the footage look like it came from broken old security cameras; and to disguise that the place they’re filming in is a disused university dorm rather than a futuristic slum. To be able to say something like this about a movie is so incredibly refreshing – microbudget movie-makers who are bothered about how their film looks!
As the cops collect up the people in the building, we come across the first problem, in that the movie really slows down at around the halfway point and doesn’t get going til really close to the end. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say this was a short film that they pushed to feature length, but even then they’ve bothered giving the group individual personalities and having them represent different ways of living in this grim future. You will learn to dread the static screen on the robot’s display, though, as you’ll see it A LOT.
But enough of my grumpy attitude! It’s a surprisingly good movie, with a series of incredibly strong performances, especially related to other movies of a similar budget and scale. Virginia Logan is great in the central role; but there’s plenty of others, like the building super and the tech wizard…I think you’ll enjoy this. I want these people to get a bunch of money so they can really let their imaginations run wild, because that’s the only thing holding them back from making a genuinely great sci-fi movie. But support indie filmmaking and inventive sci-fi and rent “Robot Revolution”.
Rating: thumbs up