“This is the voice of world control. I bring you peace.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
Indeed, a deeply disturbing element of the smart screenplay is how smug and bemused the humans remain for far too long after it’s clear that their creation has gotten the better of them. They continually — stupidly — assume that by using their own intelligence they can outsmart a computer they’ve designed to be literally impenetrable.
In his review, Peary makes numerous comparisons between this film and 2001, noting that in both stories, “man must regain his human nature before challenging the computer. Whereas Keir Dullea’s 2001 character, Bowman, becomes emotional for the first time, Forbin distinguishes himself from the machine by having regular sex with his female assistant (Susan Clark) in order to pass on ideas about rebellion.”
Peary notes that “as we see, man becomes a human being only when he fights for his survival and the preservation of personal liberties — the freedom to do even the most inconsequential things by choice and by using his own brain and hand,” though as the film cautions, “by then it may be too late.” What I appreciate most about this thriller is how quickly it moves; the only time we have a chance to breathe (appropriately so) is when Dr. Forbin and Dr. Markham have negotiated their private (unmonitored) sex time together. Otherwise, we’re taken along on the relentless ride of two super-smart computers — which, of course, would be even more “intelligent” at this point, decades later — driven purely by their own (uber-rational) logic, thus leading to several shockingly abrupt moments of brutality. Be forewarned that this isn’t a feel-good film by a long stretch, though it remains scarily compelling.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: