Metro

Artificial Inheritance ROBOTICS AND RESPONSIBILITY IN GRANT SPUTORE’S I AM MOTHER

I AM MOTHER’S AMBITIONS ARE TWOFOLD. ON ONE HAND, IT CONTINUES THE TRADITION OF SPECULATIVE FICTION BY POPULATING ITS STORY WITH QUESTIONS OF AGENCY, ETHICS AND MORE BESIDES. ON THE OTHER, IT STRIVES FOR BASER THRILLS, PROGRESSIVELY UNPACKING A CACHE OF TWISTS THROUGH A NARRATIVE LABYRINTH THICK WITH TENSION.

Let’s get this out of the way early: I Am Mother (Grant Sputore, 2019) isn’t an especially original movie. To a degree, that goes part and parcel with its chosen genre, speculative sci-fi, given the long shadow cast by its predecessors over the last half-century or so. Taking place in the wake of an ‘extinction event’, the film opens in a sterile, secluded bunker resembling a spaceship. From this setting alone, you’d be hard-pressed not to think of the long-running Alien franchise, whether you’re noting the similarities between the seemingly benevolent droid Mother (performed by Luke Hawker, voiced by Rose Byrne) and Nostromo’s MU/TH/UR 6000 in Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979), or observing that the 63,000 human embryos in Mother’s care recall the setting of the franchise’s most recent instalment, Alien: Covenant (Scott, 2017).

But it’s not like Scott has a monopoly on these elements. As Daughter (played by Clara Rugaard as a teenager), Mother’s human ward, grows up and begins to doubt her mechanised guardian’s intentions, your

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Metro

Metro8 min read
A Light In The Dark
Tracing the spectacular rise of Sydney-based Bangarra Dance Theatre from a young and hungry independent company driven by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives to becoming one of Australia’s most treasured performing-arts outfits, Wayne Bla
Metro10 min read
Dry Fidelity
A faithful and efficient adaptation of the popular crime novel by Jane Harper, Robert Connolly’s film was the local cinematic success story of early 2021. But considered in the context of recent Australian genre works that have capably straddled the
Metro9 min read
Confinement and Camaraderie
A diptych shot in an Iranian juvenile-detention facility for girls, Mehrdad Oskouei’s two documentaries shine a light both on the lives and friendships of those incarcerated within and the patriarchal oppression that awaits them beyond – this latter