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Ticket giveaway

The Law Society Journal and Vendetta films have five double tickets for the new upcoming French whodunnit, The Crime Is Mine.
From prolific French auteur, François Ozon (In the house, 8 women, Swimming Pool), comes a charming comedy murder-mystery set in 1930’s Paris. Madeleine, a pretty, young, penniless and talentless actress, is accused of murdering a famous producer. Helped by her best friend Pauline, a young unemployed lawyer, she is acquitted on the grounds of self-defense. A new life of fame and success begins, until the truth comes out. In cinemas from 12 October.

For a chance to win one of the double passes, email [email protected] your address and LawID number, with the subject line THE CRIME IS MINE, by 10 October.

The Creator

It says so much about the current state of the film industry when a critic has to ask for a film like Gareth Edwards’ The Creator to be celebrated. I don’t mean it’s a bad film, far from it. It’s reassuringly solid, but it’s so far removed from the current trend for big studio pictures that its existence is in itself an act of defiance. And for that, if only for that, I hope everyone sees it.

The Creator is an original high-concept sci-fi action blockbuster with a recognisable cast and a good dose of impressive special effects and stunt works. It is also not based on any previous work. It is not a comic book or video game adaptation, a sequel, or even a remake. It’s not intellectual property. It feels like an idea from a person who wanted to explore a world, or a subject, instead of a decision made by a committee of board members and studio heads. It cost “only” $80 million, but it looks better than any superhero movie made in the past 15 years. It is also flawed, but that’s part of the charm.

Set in a future where Artificial Intelligence has developed in society since the 1960s, The Creator presents a world divided into two factions. Those who are fighting for the eradication of all A.I, since one was responsible for the destruction of Los Angeles, and the country of New Asia (Effectively South East Asia), where robots live in peace with humans. For the Americans, this is an affront to their security. In classic post-colonial fashion, they participate in a series of covert and non-covert operations supported by an unstoppable spaceship weapon.

One of these operations sees undercover agent Joshua (David John Washington) infiltrating the New Asian rebellion to capture the person responsible for the proliferation of A.I. When undercover, his rebel and pregnant wife Maya (Gemma Chan) is killed by the aforementioned weapon, and Joshua is recruited for one final mission – infiltrate enemy lines to steal New Asia’s new weapon. It just happens that said weapon is a robot child named Alphie (Madeleine Yuna Voyles), partially created by Maya. Hunted by both Americans and New Asians, Joshua takes Alphie on a quest to find out if Maya is actually still alive.

So it is Lone Wolf & Cub meets Akira meets Blade Runner and Spielberg’s A.I. and done with the respect these films deserve. Edwards can be a polarising filmmaker. He is a resourceful director with a defined vision, but his films are not the deep and complex tales we are used to from other, better sci-fi films. But I’d argue they don’t have to. He has a giddy, almost children-like, passion for world-building and storytelling. Like the real European comic books, the philosophical and thematical questions are second to the importance of opening a window to a different universe.

So yes, it’s about moral issues of “Is a robot a real person if they can understand empathy?” and how military propaganda controls our moral compass. But Edwards knows all these questions have been extensively explored in other films, so while he adds his own point, it’s the world-building that wins points. The world of The Creator bursts with life, and reminded me almost of Spielberg’s Minority Report, where a city feels real, like life goes on after the story. It is no small feat to achieve this.

The result is that when everything in the world is set up, and there are no twists left in the story, Edwards trusts the audience is 100 per cent emotionally committed to the plot. And with confidence, he dives head-first into an old-school final act that sticks its landing.

The Creator is not perfect, but it’s the kind of film studios stopped risking, and by proxy, it deserves to be supported. It helps that it is good and delivers on what was promised. I still feel Washington is being a bit underused in the blockbusters he chooses, where his characters don’t let him explore the range he showed in Blackkklansman. Ken Watanabe and Allison Janney support him, playing characters that could easily be in any film by James Cameron.

The best sci-fi is cut from the same cloth as the action and Western genres but adds one element,where a political or social idea from our lives is exaggerated but still recognisable and presented in an entertaining package. Without overcomplicating, Edwards delivers a film that 15-year-old me would’ve adored. And that is no small feat.

Verdict: 4 out of 5
For fans of sci-fi who have been hiding rewatching old episodes of Battlestar Galactica and old Enki Bilal comic books.