If Fabien Dufils’s “Implanted” wasn’t specifically set 3 years after ‘a pandemic’ and tried its hand at least criticizing and/or satirizing the health care system, I would have taken it seriously. However, since it doesn’t do any of that, and is hell-bent on making a case for people to ‘not put things inside their bodies’ (read: herein a A.I chip), I strongly feel that it is some sort of anti-vax propaganda, that is no better than one of those odd, faith-based movies made on a regular basis in America.
Anyhow, the film kicks off in a sleak, post-modernist fashion where, low-lives and people living on the fringes are retorting to getting themselves an implant of an A.I health unit that sort of gets into their heads like Siri and allows them to live a stress free life. Riddle me a constant voice that is telling you what to do, what to eat, and where to sit (sort of like a really controlling, mansplaining boyfriend if you must).
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Anyone, getting into the film with even the minutest idea of how science fiction works, may know that this ‘Dynamic Health Cure’ company is basically using people as guinea pigs for their social experiments. Their program is still in its development stage and testing it on people is obviously a sinister plot waiting to be made. Soon, L.E.X.X (the name of the A.I inside the nonochip) starts to take control over our protagonist Sarah (Michelle Girolami), asking her to do criminal activities like killing people responsible for the L.E.X.X program in a very rise-of-the-machines kind of way.
Sarah, who feels threatened about her mother’s (she makes sure that we root for the love she has for her) existence and complies to these orders made by the A.I. Cast in point, if she rovolts, the program fucks with her brains and creates a sort of isolation in her head that is more painful than death itself (or at least that’s what we are suppose to feel). Most of the film is thus about Sarah revolting, recalculating her morality, succumbing, killing and sniffing in paranoia. She is ably accompanied by glitch-like juxtapositions, random but occasionally smart musical cues and a whole lot of repetitive plot points that grow tiresome with each passing minute.
Michelle Girolami is really dedicated to her role but a lack of character depth and a very basic, surface level execution hurts the overall trajectory of how you feel for her character. When we first meet this character we only know that she took a chance with this experiment because she was fired from her job. To make things emotionally investing, the director invents a soft spot she has for her mother, but her interactions with her are so poorly written that you eventually don’t really care for her and how the A.I is torturing her.
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I mean, as far as A.I-gone-wrong thrillers are concerned, they usually work when the stake are high, but also when you are both aware of the A.I’s existence and in some way care about the human entitiy being manipulated. Fabien Dufils’ script could have worked as a B-movie thriller that insunites the way the Health Cure system just claims to do well for the citizens, but so rarely does. However, “Implanted” not only lacks depth, but also follows a repetitive structure that, in spite of a surprisingly understated third act, hits itself in the foot with a predictable conclusion.
Implanted (2022) Links – IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
Implanted (2022) Cast – Michelle Girolami, Nader Boussandel, Scott Broughton, David Dotterer Martin Ewens