March 6, 2020


Review: Devs: Nick Offerman and Alison Pill in Alex Garland's wild sci-fi mystery. (KURT LODER | 3.6.2020, reason)

Alex Garland, who wrote and directed every installment of this movie (let's call it that) has deep roots in the sci-fantasy world, having written two memorable Danny Boyle films (including the great Sunshine), the mega-dystopian Never Let Me Go, the comic-book adaptation Dread, and two films that he also directed, both unforgettable: Ex Machina and Annihilation.

With Devs, Garland takes on one of the oldest philosophical disputes--the one between determinism and randomness. You remember:

Determinism: "Every action in this world is predetermined, why worry?"

Randomness: "No, free will exists--let me demonstrate with this punch in your face."

Determinism: "I knew you were going to do that."

Variations on this conundrum have launched many a sci-fi story, but probably never at such painstaking length as in Devs. This could be a problem for some viewers, who might find the movie's measured, trance-like pace to be simply too slow (and indeed, there are an awful lot of lingering aerial shots of freeways and forests, and some scenes that may have been given a little too much room to breathe--they feel as if they were shot underwater). But still, the rich, hypnotic spell that Garland casts is hard to deny.

He's become one of our more interesting filmmakers and did a really enjoyable interview with Sean Fennessey of The Ringer.

Posted by at March 6, 2020 9:29 AM


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