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After Yang Movie Review: A24 and Colin Farrell Robot Movie Will Make You Cry

“Meditation” could be a good word to describe the picture, which is based on Alexander Weinstein’s short tale “Saying Goodbye to Wang.” There are extended, strained moments of stillness and silence from both the script and the actors, which make us question if this is all trying to be some sort of independent film parody. While it isn’t, it is science fiction at its most subdued, with any references to time and place–self-driving cars, advanced robots, and so on–woven so delicately into the background that they feel like they’ve always been there.

After Yang can be overly suggestive at times, robbing us of context for this universe and the actions that occur within it. For one thing, everything appears to be strangely deserted; is this the result of some kind of global calamity, even though the residences and nearby areas appear reasonably untouched? What are the consequences of “owning” a highly evolved, very self-aware cyborg that appears to be a living being?

The fact that these questions remain unresolved, as well as the excellent performances of all four leads, who appear curiously disconnected at the same time, is a cause of aggravation. A depressed Farrell walks from repair shop to museum, hunting for solutions to Yang’s big malfunction before his body disintegrates. He talks stiffly with Kyra both over the phone and in person, and it appears for a time that they are drifting apart, a process accelerated by Yang’s absence.

These sections of the film are engaging in terms of first addressing Yang’s difficulty and subsequently decoding his riddle, but they are also lacking in emotional connection. That comes in hanky-panky abundance in the third act, when the hidden recordings kept in Yang’s core (his “heart”) are opened (represented quite beautifully as a vast explosion of star-like lights, each one carrying a single memory).

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Even so, doubts about who or what Yang is, how existence is defined, and whether anyone has a “soul” linger, but by that point, Kogonada (who also authored the screenplay) has carried you along in a flood of feeling that almost makes up for the sterility witnessed earlier. After Yang is both disappointing and cathartic, offering a poignant conclusion to a story that leaves the audience yearning for more knowledge.

After Yang Movie Review: A24 and Colin Farrell Robot Movie Will Make You Cry
After Yang Movie Review: A24 and Colin Farrell Robot Movie Will Make You Cry
After Yang Movie Review: A24 and Colin Farrell Robot Movie Will Make You Cry
After Yang Movie Review: A24 and Colin Farrell Robot Movie Will Make You Cry
After Yang Movie Review: A24 and Colin Farrell Robot Movie Will Make You Cry
After Yang Movie Review: A24 and Colin Farrell Robot Movie Will Make You Cry
After Yang Movie Review: A24 and Colin Farrell Robot Movie Will Make You Cry
After Yang Movie Review: A24 and Colin Farrell Robot Movie Will Make You Cry
After Yang Movie Review: A24 and Colin Farrell Robot Movie Will Make You Cry
After Yang Movie Review: A24 and Colin Farrell Robot Movie Will Make You Cry
After Yang Movie Review: A24 and Colin Farrell Robot Movie Will Make You Cry

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