This franchise has demonstrated an impressive ability to beat the odds and reinvent itself, over a span of time long enough for two generations to grow up in. It's a toy store of ideas, with new wonders in every aisle.
Frustrating but engrossing, and impossible to critique in-depth without spoilers because it's driven by regular plot twists, I Am Mother adds another memorable creation to an already packed gallery of intelligent science fiction robots that are as complex as most humans.
The tone starts out bleak and steadily darkens. The movie is sometimes fascinating, though—particular in the early stretches, before the dominos of catastrophe start to fall, and the little details of the characters' relationship and their world are replaced by a constant fear of getting arrested or killed.
With its brutal violence, explicit sex, and up-close views of blood, sweat, urine, and semen, it is proudly an R-rated film, verging on NC-17—though the X-rating, which was discontinued by the MPAA almost 30 years ago, might feel more appropriate.
The evident smallness of the production belies its power to disturb. It's like one of those knives that are small enough to be hidden in a coat sleeve or the lip of a boot but that can still cut a man's throat.
Then comes another scene nonsensical scene, and another, and another, each seemingly disconnected from the scene that preceded it. Plot, logic, continuity, become even more meaningless than they were already, which is saying something. It's as if the movie itself has lost its mind. And it was at that point, dear reader, that the reviewer fell in love with the movie.
Caveats aside, this is, in my estimation, a typically stimulating but opaque and deliberately frustrating late-period Godard film, good but not great, distinguished primarily by the fact that it's the first Godard film to use no actors at all.
Close is aces when it's watching its star move through the world, silently checking everyone and everything out, hiding her mental math until it's time to kill some dudes. The action is frenzied but comprehensible, brutal but not wantonly sadistic.