“Mother / Android” follows Georgia (Chloë Grace Moretz) in the late stages of pregnancy and her boyfriend Sam (Algee Smith) as they make their way to the deadly-android-free haven of Boston. The couple dives headfirst into no-mans-land: surrounding areas of Boston, rampant with androids patrolling for humans who are seeking asylum. Attempting to combine the genres of zombie thriller and AI dystopia, “Mother / Android” ultimately misses on its poorly thought out storyline, lack of high-stake tension, and undeveloped themes. Spoilers ahead.
The film initially piques the audience’s interest by the shots of bright nature which contrast the cold interior of artificial buildings. This intentional thematic choice reflects the divide between humans, nature, and the androids. The humans created the androids, yet humans are still connected to the natural world, interacting with insects and experiencing childbirth. “Mother / Android” expands on some of these intriguing themes, highlighting the pains of motherhood and exploring the complicated relationship between humans and artificial intelligence.
The story has multiple sequences that don’t add depth or motion to the plot. The most egregious example of this is when Georgia and Sam are taking refuge in a military camp and are provoked by a drunk soldier, who says he will bring them safely to Boston only if Sam beats him in a punching match. Desperate, Sam takes the (incredibly untrustworthy) offer. Shortly after, the commanding officer expels them from the camp, and they are on their own once again. Maybe this departure from relative safety is supposed to create a sense of anxiety for the audience, but this intensity is short-lived as they find shelter in a large house only minutes after their expulsion from the camp. Attaining luxurious shelter lessens the significance and high-stakes element of their ban from the military camp.
Though this film intends to be a thriller with frightening, zombie-like AI, there are no heart-freezing, terrifying moments that makes the audience think the AI are actually going to end the lives of the protagonists. Even when Georgia goes into an Android-guarded prison to rescue her boyfriend, she never ultimately gets caught, depriving the plot of tension and thrill for the audience.
I would give “Mother / Android” a 2.5 of 5 for its inadequate development of themes, indistinctive storytelling, and flat sense of danger. Mattson Tomlin attempted to cater to multiple genres, but he ended up performing subpar on both these fronts. Although there are aesthetic and visually pleasing scenes and elements of the film, these features do not adequately make up for its shortfallings.