Starring: Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja, Justin H. Min
I can find no aspect of this movie to be lacking. After Yang is that rarest of sci-fi films that manages to be technically masterful, beautiful to look at, creatively edited, haunting in its performances, and profound in its themes. It's also approachable to anyone outside of sci-fi. If you've known the pain of unexpectedly losing a loved one, you will find this movie deeply relatable and uplifting. Fans of Blade Runner and Ex Machina will be right at home in this heartfelt new take on the classic theme of artificial intelligence. Director Kogonada is, quite simply, a genius.
The most impressive thing about director Kogonada’s After Yang is its world-building, which is seamlessly blended into the background without ever pushing unbelievability. The story itself is, unfortunately, a little too simple to have the impact it seems to desire, though. There is definitely an intimate emotionality running through the film’s undercurrent, but it may be too subtle for those not already enamored with minimalist sci-fi. The final 30 minutes of the film are a whopper though, so it does have that going for it. The performances are uniformly excellent too. This seems destined to be one of 2022’s most underrated efforts.
There are definitely things in After Yang to admire, but sadly, a lot of it doesn’t work. The cast and cinematography are both really good, but the latter has some odd shifts in its aspect ratio that I found odd even if it's still beautiful to look at. The film is a very calm meditation on the soul, but it moves too slowly and has a little too much ambition to completely achieve what it’s trying to do. That said, it definitely hit me in the feels by the end, even if the journey to get there wasn’t satisfying.