Written and directed by Marcus Shenn, co-written by Matthew Marder, a robotics company executive pushes for the development of an android companionship model and unexpectedly spends a week with her. Starring: Phil Kruse, Nika Burnett, Anthia Gillick, Michelle Agresti, B Z Cullins and Brock Morse.
The consequences of introducing furthered A.I. technology are now a staple of cinema for both sci-fi and horror so the biggest question with this film is, does it have something new to add? The most ironic thing is that the journey it takes in fact wanders off into the realm of romantic drama. The story is almost like a technological allegory for terminal illness, it becomes very much about the relationship between Rebecca (Burnett) and Ryan (Kruse), regardless of her less than human status. Wherein begins the dividing point for audiences, either you’ll be able to invest in this idea or it will feel like they’ve forgone the more interesting complications of this story in favour of something much more familiar and unoriginal. The writing plays in such a way that veers into safe territory, an underestimation of the connection that can be built in a short amount of time and the devastation when it’s then threatened. It’s sadly too safe to create something entirely new or individual.
In contrast the direction feels more specific to Shenn’s style, it has its ups and downs but it’s solid work. There’s some great panoramic style shots and the set dressings and locations are extremely well chosen to bring about that futuristic atmosphere which isn’t too far removed from what we know now. It weakens slightly in its latter stages, the directorial style gives into the more cheesy and romantic notions of its story, becoming too sentimental to retain the otherwise modern edge.
The performances from Phil Kruse and Nika Burnett are convincing, their characters may fall into more traditional trappings than expected but they still have a good chemistry between them. Burnett walks the line well of Rebecca trying to be her own ‘person’ and yet subservient to Ryan, simultaneously trying to please him but also seeking to make her own path. Kruse gives a very classic Wall Steet type look to Ryan, he ticks all the boxes for a guy that works in finance but he does still manage to retain a sincerity in his more emotional moments. Although together they can’t quite bridge the gap into something moving or touching, the story doesn’t manage to crack into an arena of the heartfelt, it remains on the surface.
A Week with Rebecca feels like an attempt to both explore our relationship with technology through a humane perspective and throwing back to a typical relationship dynamic. It starts out introducing something potentially different but unfortunately veers into a much too familiar realm, resulting in something that takes too long to get to a fairly predictable point. Although there’s some solid direction at work here, it feels like it misused its time and could have gone down a much more original route.