The Generator: Would You Choose to Simulate Human Emotions?

Virtual technologies and human touch interaction blend when scientist Max Bernholm discovers that, by connecting himself to a computer server, he can achieve 'the human feel'. This allows users of the program, known as The Generator, to experience the same feelings that the human subjects were experiencing when connected to their computer systems.

The tone and ambiguity of this film puts along the line of a Black Mirror episode and films like Ex Machina. Like Black Mirror it looks into the opportunities of future technologies but also the dangers of it physically and mentally, and these are often a reflection for our current reliance on technology.

In this film's case it’s a metaphor for texting and social media, and how this is the current norm for interaction. Wherever we go, it's guaranteed you’ll see people on their phones texting others, searching the internet or sharing what they’re doing on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. That our minds are now in this virtual world and has become so reliant on human interactions, the film explores how this interaction could evolve into something more physical like sex, hugging, and running.

We see consequences for people who use The Generator and we see them as shallow after using it, highlighting that people become less emotional and their mind not focused on reality. In contrast, the men who work at the facility as subjects all hangout having a laugh and play board games.

Of course, on paper something like that would sound intriguing and the film represents the appeal quite well e.g. a virginal girl experiencing sex; a wheelchair-bound elderly woman experiencing running. However, there are the dangers; when Max tests his newest technology of mind control he starts to lose control.

Then protagonist Leander, the captain of the subjects, and his girlfriend Natalia, a scientist at the facility, are drawn into a hazardous game. The only chance to stop Max depends on Leander gambling with his life, but if he succeeds he could save not only his own life, but the lives of his loved ones.

Rudy Carpio’s direction is very solid and has a beautiful vision. He keeps in the inside of the facility dark with unnatural bright colours (e.g. fluorescent lighting) to contrast it. While the outside would has a white and greyish tone with the odd natural standout colour (e.g. flowers).

He also keeps the camera still a lot of the time at different angles - wide, tilted, bird’s eye view - and there are a lot of uncomfortable close-up shots of characters’ faces, which gives a look at humanity from an abstract point of view.

One shot that stood out to me was when we see a girl following her friend into the building, yet it’s in the background, and in the forefront are flowers blowing in the wind. I feel it says a lot about nature vs. technology and how there appears to be more life in the flowers than the girls we’re supposed to be focused on.

There are also purely CGI shots as we see the human minds going in and out of The Generator, which involve a fluorescent blue worm travelling like in around an ocean into a black hole or through space connecting to a satellite. It’s up to the audiences if that’s what the customers see or it’s just a simulation in the program. It’s there to add to the abstract nature of the film.

Not everything about the film is explained, there are several moments with no dialogue that allows the story mainly to flow visually. It also allows the audience to decide what is going on as well, presenting us with many possibilities.

Written by Jack Parish

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