BFI London Film Festival: Robot Overlords (2014)


Jon Wright ambitiously set out to make a family-friendly British sci-fi film with the technical quality of Transformers, yet with more heart and a low budget, and after bringing together an impressive cast including acting veterans Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson, the project fell into place perfectly to create Robot Overlords.

Three years after robots have taken over the world, every person on earth is implanted with a monitor that confines them to their homes, unable to leave without being killed under the orders of the chief of robots, Robin (Ben Kinglsey). Teenager Sean (Callan McAuliffe), living with his emotionally fragile mother (Gillian Anderson) and his friends Alexandra and Nathan (Ella Hunt and James Tarney, respectively) is devastated by the robots’ abduction of his father, and after his mother takes in a young, orphaned boy, Connor (Milo Parker), the four children are determined to free themselves from the robots’ control.

Written with an intelligence and depth not often seen in family films, Robot Overlords is a formidable and spectacularly crafted film that has the ability to send chills down your spine one moment, but in the next have you smiling with joy. The cast perform with a consistent beguile, yet it is Parker, the ten year old actor in his film debut, who truly steals the show. Even when alongside Anderson and Kingsley it is clear that he is a force to be reckoned with and has a brilliant career ahead of him. McAuliffe, Hunt and Tarney are outstanding and have acting abilities well beyond their young years.

Clever and intense, Robot Overlords is a fascinating story of persistence, unity and strength told from the perspective of the four young stars, and makes great viewing for the whole family.

Rating: ★★★★

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