Movie Review: Tau (2018)

Synopsis: Street-wise Julia is kidnapped by an inventor and held hostage in a futuristic house under the control of his prototype artificial intelligence program, Tau. Knowing she will only be kept alive long enough to help the inventor work out the bugs in his program, Julia begins to reason with Tau in an effort to escape.

Who's in it? The movie stars Maika Monroe, Ed Skrein, Fiston Barek, Ivana Zivkovic and Gary Oldman.

Review: I came across this movie on Netflix a couple weeks ago and, after reading the description, added it to my watch list. My wife and I finally got around to doing that last night and it turned out to be a decent film.

To be honest, when we first started watching this movie, I wasn't really sure what to expect from it. It sounded unique. But, when I realized the movie was more or less about a woman trying to convince a computer to let her go, I was concerned it would get a bit boring (or a little dumb). That, however, turned out not to be the case.

First of all, I found I loved Julia's (Monroe) fighting spirit. She simply was not willing to let her kidnapper, Alex (Skrein), do what he wanted without resistance and, from the start, showed an impressive ability to work through problems, whether it was finding a way to escape a cell or using the very little leverage she had to get simple comforts like steak dinners, showers and clothes.

Even her on-going efforts to persuade Tau to look at her as a person and help her escape were much more interesting than I thought they would be. Just when Tau (voiced by Oldman) seemed to be falling for it, something would happen that would make it clear the AI was still under her kidnapper's control. And, I must admit, the strange friendship they were forming throughout was kind of interesting.

My only real criticism of this movie is, for a genius, Alex seemed a little clueless at times. Julia was able to get away with an awful lot behind his back and even hid a knife, in plain sight, without him seeing it (despite the fact he would notice the slightest smudge on his glasses or tablet). Not to mention he practically gave Julia her escape plan by telling her Tau had limitations and could potentially be confused.

I was also a little disappointed he didn't seem to have any redeeming traits. He was experimenting on people out of necessity and was obviously under pressure from investors to get his AI on the market. But, at no point did he show any convincing hint of regret of the steps he had to take to accomplish his task. While this works in some films, I think his character would have been better if he had even a slight hint of humanity or, at very least, a convincing backstory that showed us why he no longer seemed to care about people.

Final Opinion: This was a surprisingly good movie that my wife and I enjoyed. I would recommend taking the time to watch it.

My Grade: B


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