Synopsis: Outside The Wire sees disgraced drone pilot, Harp (Damson Idris), join forces with Leo (Anthony Mackie). The two race against time to avert nuclear disaster. But soon, Harp makes a startling discovery about Leo. So, Harp must make a huge decision . . .
A good concept for a science fiction film. Right up our street. SciFiPulse loves all things android. Especially when it’s done decently. In Outside The Wire, we see Anthony Mackie as a military weapon. But that alone isn’t enough to make things work. Whilst being a prototype isn’t an original concept, it still adds a cool dynamic. Ultimately, his identity as an android becomes the focal point of the story. And this is for multiple reasons. As we see Harp (Damson Idris) being led, we also see him have a character arc. Consequently, the story worked well. As well as being a cool action flick, this film also has deeper layers, to it, too. So, In that sense, it’s “real” sci-fi.
Something you want in an action film is escapism. At least to some extent. And you get it, in Outside The Wire. There are some interesting twists and turns, too. Right when you feel the film has come to a natural end, you soon come to realize that things are only really getting going. It’s done in a smart way, which all makes sense in the end. You’re fully bought in, which is important for a film like this. The pacing of the movie helps, in that respect. There’s a good sense of balance between exposition and action. Things culminate in a big, dramatic finale. It’s what you don’t expect, though, that elevates the film from being a throwaway caper to a decent offering.
Anthony Mackie impresses as an android. He needed to stand out, in this role. And he managed to do so. He gave an impressive performance. One that drew on his humanity. It’s those aspects that really allowed him to show the good and bad bits of the human condition. The faults we all have. As well as the strengths were explored well, due to Mackie’s at times deeply insightful take on an android. But all that would be unable to come through, without his foil. Mackie did his part finely. And so too did the film’s other star.
Playing the big hero is Damson Idris. Not easy to hold your own against the likes of Mackie, who has established himself already. But Idris deserves equal credit. He never looked an as well as. He drew on deeply human traits in an altogether different way. Idris fully realised that his character was on a redemption arc. For that, you need to make the character likeable. And, vulnerable, too. That’s exactly what this up and coming actor did. There was a depth to his performance, allowing him to develop his character excellently.
CGI & Effects
The world of the film looked fantastic. Choosing to use regular weapons worked fantastically. For example, on the “gumps”, the gun-mounted cannons made it feel as if they were real. Or, at least they could be. That was very much the job of the effects in Outside The Wire. They asked questions. About where we are now, and where we’re heading to next. Visually, seriously smart and cool looking.
The way that Leo looked didn’t seem like other androids. The inner workings were based on human anatomy, but a cybernetic version. The creative team must have worked hard to make that happen. Their efforts paid off, helping to create a good near-futuristic feeling.
Perhaps one of the strongest themes of the film was morality, about war. Largely, viewers like to see America as the good guys. And that’s exactly what the majority of films go with. Most of us play along. And ultimately, end up rooting for what we know. By widening the scope, that’s questioned. Done so intelligently. Good sci-fi should ask more than it answers. The subtlety gets lost a little. Towards the end of the film. Hearing the “big ideas” of the film isn’t really necessary. What doesn’t change is that that this is a good film. Parts of the story can be seen as a take on Frankenstein (1818). One that breathes new life into the idea that we must always be careful what we create. Outside The Wire reminds us of that, doing so at a time when considering lasting consequences has never been more vital.
Outside The Wire is available to stream now on Netflix
- CGI & Effects9.1