Lawrie Brewster (director)
13 March 2019 (released)
13 March 2019
The world premiere of Automata was eagerly awaited but for me didn’t quite meet expectations. The is no doubt a very good story here in Lawrie Brewster’s film about Dr Brendon Cole (Jamie Scott Gordon) commissioned to authenticate a 300-year old masterpiece of an automaton, with a very dark secret. He’s accompanied by his step-daughter Rose (Victoria Lucie) and his job is to get it to perform five tasks that she was programmed to do, the reward if successful being considerable.
Via flashbacks we see a general (Jonathan Hansler) commission the doll to be built in the image of his daughter Talia (Alexandra Nicole Hulme) - who disappears with no trace. Since then the doll has become referred to as The Inferno Princess because of the mayhem it has supposedly caused over the centuries. As Cole delves into the history of the machine and try to find what makes the doll tick strange things start to happen and appear.
And lots of thing do appear as old, ugly, malevolent forces are unleashed or awakened. This leads to what are more competing, than complementing timelines so there was some dislocation during the film. Having said that some of this imagery is impressive and the sordid backstory seeping into Rose’s and Brendon’s minds has the actors working at their best.
Brewster douses the screen with red and blue lights, along with lashings of wind and mist in the stately locations. It’s quite atmospheric and gothic but can’t dispel the feeling that this a short story stretched out to breaking point with every idea that the writer had seemingly lobbed into the story. Hence it all appears a bit cluttered.