Russel's car is his office. Russel's car begins to take control.

Genre: Drama

Length: 7:28

Free To View

2.5 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : Martyn Rainbird,

Director/s : Martyn Rainbird, 

Writer/s : Martyn Rainbird, 

Actor/s : Martyn Rainbird, Dave Broome


God in the machine

It starts when salesman Russel’s car radio keeps turning itself up when he keeps trying to turn it down. Then he gets caught by a speed camera. Needing his car to earn money, he gets a hapless colleague who owes him a big favour to take the points on his licence.

He doesn’t realise that the car is listing, and is shifting into judgemental mode. It refuses to move when lights turn green. It turns up its heating, turns off the aircon, and won’t let the windows down, as if consigning Russel to a ring of hell for his sins. And that’s just the start.

There are no frills to the filming, but as director Martyn Rainbow’s first film that’s eminently forgivable. And there are some effective effects and edits. What does jar, though, is the literally amateurish acting. Word to the wise, Martyn, don’t use mates, and definitely don’t use yourself. Acting looks easy and natural, but it’s neither – that’s the point of actors! This suffers too from the one thing that’ll undermine a film more effectively even than staid direction and iffy acting: poor sound.

For all that, Autonomy remains lighthearted fun. The idea of machines and objects coming to life is a classic film trope that has been used time and again. Dolls in Annabelle, ballet pumps in The Red Shoes, and cars in Christine, Herbie, and indeed Cars. Autonomy finds moral spin on the idea, and plays it out with commendable simplicity and economy. It has been said that these days the car is God. Well, Russel’s car certainly is. And not a forgiving one.