By Don R. Lewis | February 7, 2012

Oh, robots and their human creators. Won’t they ever get along? In the genre of science-fiction books and movies, this seems to be an eternal question and struggle. Yet for all the incarnations of this simple plot point, there’s a million ways in which a sci-fi filmmaker or author can take the idea and it’s generally a pretty intriguing journey. I wonder if this is because humanistic robots seem so believable, as if they could become the norm any day yet, at the same time, remain terrifying because they’re basically built to be better than us. They’re smarter and don’t possess the need to be thoughtful or kind, they just do what makes logical sense. Plus they’re stronger than us and, in many cases, can tell if you’re lying or scared. All of these ideas come into play in writer/director/editor Shawn Costa’s slick and smart short film “Initiative #435.”

While there’s some silly, heavy handedness at first (the humanoid is named Abel and he’s looking for his brother whose name should be easy to guess), Costa quickly dispenses with the simple back story and gets us right into the action as Abel escapes and must be brought down by a hired gun. Again, this is nothing new. But the short succeeds because Costa shoots it extremely well and I’m guessing he had a very small budget to work with. He doesn’t get wrapped up in what would have surely been rinky-dink special effects but relies on very good sound and sound design to make this film feel as high priced as it is high concept.

The acting in “Initiative #435” is solid and simple. There’s not a bunch of long speeches but the characters look the part and perform them well. Costa also shows talent in the way he choreographs and shoots his fight sequence. I like the way Costa works with what he has (good actors, a nice camera, good sense) and doesn’t go too crazy and over the top with what he’s showing. “Initiative #435” is a cool little short film for sci-fi lovers and those with a lifelong fear of humanoids. Like me.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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