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Brian and Charles

Having read the synopsis of Brian and Charles, I was expecting a touching story about a lonely man who invents things to pass the time, and eventually builds himself a friend. That all happens within the first ten minutes, and then the rest of the film feels like an exercise in getting to the next scene rather than telling any kind of cohesive story. There’s a love angle, a villain arc and some other threads that aren’t necessary, and it all just becomes very clumsy as a result.

The basic mechanics of the narrative are that Brian builds an AI driven robot named Charles that forms its own personality, all from his shed. No-one seems to be very surprised that Brian’s done this, which begs the question of what has he done before if this is just expected of him? The biggest problem, though, is we get this big town bully story to go along with it as an excuse to keep Charles hidden away. Just that Brian is a lonely guy who doesn’t have anyone in his life outside of Charles is enough to justify his behaviour, and would’ve made for a far less ponderous film. There are other similar examples of plot points that have been added to give reasons for why certain things are happening, when Brian’s character was always enough, and I wish there was more trust given to the premise of who he is. 

This really just felt like a first draft. If some of it was trimmed to make something a bit more minimalist, I really think it could’ve been a really endearing film. Unfortunately, it just crumbles a bit under the weight of bits it doesn’t need.

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