The robot comedy Brian and Charles finds the sweeter side of Ex Machina

This review of Brian and Charles was originally posted in conjunction with the film’s debut at the 2022 Sundance International Film Festival. It has been updated and reposted for the movie’s theatrical debut.

One of the oldest questions in science fiction — posed as far back as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and as recently as this year’s After Yang — asks, “If we create artificial life, what happens when it realizes its agency and looks beyond us?” The answer is often dark and foreboding, resolving in the cruel manipulations of Blade Runner or the bloody revenge of Ex Machina. Her presents a less violent but still melancholy vision of AIs that quickly surpass humans and
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