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REVIEW: Devs (2020)

Ever since the glorious Ex Machina burst onto our screens, Alex Garland has quietly built a reputation as one of the most thought-provoking sci-fi auteurs around. Far removed from the likes of Star Wars, his projects are easily identified by their intent to wrestle with thought-provoking topics such as emerging technologies and the ethical challenges they pose to our tradition way of living. In that sense, Devs is probably his most ambitious piece of work to date.

Telling the story of a tech trailblazer, played by the always unique Nick Offerman, and his maddening determination to reimagine the boundaries of quantum computing, it’s an undeniably intriguing watch. Also taking centre stage is the talented Sonoya Mizuno, playing an employee who becomes unwillingly engulfed into the murky world of her aforementioned employer. There are plenty of twists and turns played against a more rewarding backdrop of deep ethical questioning, but I found it difficult to shake the nagging suspicion that Devs would have benefitted from being a little less sprawling. The final episodes don’t quite justify the quality that precedes them and this leads to a conclusion that isn’t exactly disappointing, but definitely a little flat.

Still, there’s no denying that Garland is a filmmaker of considerable quality and this sits nicely alongside the aforementioned Ex Machina and the more recent Annihilation as some of the most challenging sci-fi around.

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