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Artificial Inheritance ROBOTICS AND RESPONSIBILITY IN GRANT SPUTORE’S I AM MOTHER

I AM MOTHER’S AMBITIONS ARE TWOFOLD. ON ONE HAND, IT CONTINUES THE TRADITION OF SPECULATIVE FICTION BY POPULATING ITS STORY WITH QUESTIONS OF AGENCY, ETHICS AND MORE BESIDES. ON THE OTHER, IT STRIVES FOR BASER THRILLS, PROGRESSIVELY UNPACKING A CACHE OF TWISTS THROUGH A NARRATIVE LABYRINTH THICK WITH TENSION.

Let’s get this out of the way early: I Am Mother (Grant Sputore, 2019) isn’t an especially original movie. To a degree, that goes part and parcel with its chosen genre, speculative sci-fi, given the long shadow cast by its predecessors over the last half-century or so. Taking place in the wake of an ‘extinction event’, the film opens in a sterile, secluded bunker resembling a spaceship. From this setting alone, you’d be hard-pressed not to think of the long-running Alien franchise, whether you’re noting the similarities between the seemingly benevolent droid Mother (performed by Luke Hawker, voiced by Rose Byrne) and Nostromo’s MU/TH/UR 6000 in Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979), or observing that the 63,000 human embryos in Mother’s care recall the setting of the franchise’s most recent instalment, Alien: Covenant (Scott, 2017).

But it’s not like Scott has a monopoly on these elements. As Daughter (played by Clara Rugaard as a teenager), Mother’s human ward, grows up and begins to doubt her mechanised guardian’s intentions, your

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1 See the Glenrowan Tourist Centre website, , accessed 25 October 2019. 2 See ‘The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906)’, Memory of the World, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization websi
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