I know what you’re thinking: please not another AI gone crazy science fiction movie. I assure you that although The Artifice Girl is an AI-gone-crazy science fiction movie, it’s still worth watching. In my humble opinion, this is the best movie about AI since the infamous Ex Machina. Ever since people first saw Alicia Vikander as Ava, they’ve been trying to make cheap and boring copies of the same concept. Almost none of them worked because you could clearly feel the lack of effort and their desire to make a quick buck. Within the first five minutes of this movie, you’ll see that it’s nothing like those. The dialogue is sharp and to the point and the characters are well-developed.
The atmosphere is full of mystery as you don’t know where the story is going. However, you can feel that whatever that place is, it’s authentic and realistic. Something that all the other movies failed to achieve. I also must warn you that the movie relies heavily on intelligent and thought-provoking dialogue. This means that there won’t be action and this might make some people find the movie boring. So, if you’re looking for something more flashy and action-packed, do skip this one. The Artifice Girl is a movie written, directed, and starring Franklin Ritch, a uniquely talented individual who has a bright future ahead of him.
You already know that I’m not the greatest proponent of movies where one person does everything but the science fiction genre seems to be the exception to that rule. The Endless is a perfect example. So, we will be following Gareth, a talented computer programmer who finds himself in trouble. Two agents brought him in for questioning and as the interrogation unfolds, it becomes more and more apparent that Gareth is hiding a big secret. The movie consists of three distinct chapters. This structured approach helps with the pacing and makes the already short running time of ninety minutes feel even shorter.
The mostly unknown cast led by our main man Franklin did a terrific job. I especially liked David Girard as Amos although we’ll also have the opportunity to see the legendary Lance Henriksen. I love his dedication to these small productions. Sometimes he misses but sometimes he fucking nails them on the head. I still remember just how excited the producers of Stung were to work with him. If you’re looking for more of his good B movies, do check out Daylight’s End. In this movie, he comes full circle, from being one of the most recognizable androids, Bishop from Aliens, to talking to the next generation of these inevitable constructs.
While we’re talking about other movies, I have to mention the one that instantly came to mind when I started watching The Artifice Girl. I’m talking about the science fiction classic The Man From Earth. What got me in both of these movies was the plausibility of the story. Instead of going for some outlandish and flashy plot, Franklin rooted this one firmly in reality. As you can notice, I’m ranting pretty hard here, forgetting to mention important parts of the plot but all for a good reason. I think that this is a movie best experienced cold, without any prior knowledge. That’s why I’m going to skip the usual summary section.
One of the more thought-provoking concepts regarding AI appears in the third section of the movie. It poses the question of whether AI will inherit our innately human characteristics like psychological issues. To translate this into more comprehensible terms, the question is whether AI will have daddy issues. And I think that based purely on this single question I’ve proved you need to watch this movie. Despite the smaller budget, the cinematography and especially the camerawork were excellent.
Finally, I do want to address the title of the movie, The Artifice Girl. While the meaning of the word artifice (trickery) might be appropriate it’s just too similar to the word orifice, especially in conjunction with the word girl. And especially especially to those with a bit more perverse mind. You can imagine people scrolling through streaming catalogs and briefly looking at the title and the poster and making the wrong conclusion. So, something to keep in mind for future releases from this promising young director, writer, and actor.
Director: Franklin Ritch
Writer: Franklin Ritch
Cast: Franklin Ritch, David Girard, Sinda Nichols, Tatum Matthews, Lance Henriksen, Thomas Hamby
Fun Facts: The incident in Clearwater, Florida, Gareth is describing did not happen in reality. Clearwater, Florida was trending because of another crime, the murder of Markeis McGlockton by Michael Drejka. This is also the place where are the headquarters for the church of Scientology .