Venice is a ghost town in this movie. Presumably due to Covid restrictions during filming, the city is heartbreakingly empty. Piazza San Marco and Campo della Salute bustle with tourists, even at night, and yet here they have only one or two people milling about as a backdrop for the main characters. It’s emblematic of the film which sees a dozen beautiful people fight amongst themselves in beautiful locations that feel devoid of civilians or actual threat.
Though the practical action scenes are spectacular, the script and editing around them are baggy, unmoored by the film’s nebulous AI antagonist. The film starts in dialogue with Cold War thrillers notably THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER and acknowledges that rogue AI is more abstract than Communists or even ‘terrorists’. But there’s no Kremlin explosion like in GHOST PROTOCOL to embody the threat in a meaningful way. Don’t let studio execs tell you AI is an existential threat: the threat is the flesh-and-blood monsters wielding it.
Full review available on Cinetopia podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/cinetopia/episodes/JULY-2023-on-EHFM-EDINBURGH-FILM-FEST-PROGRAMME-LAUNCH-PLUS-REVIEWS-OF-MISSION-IMPOSSIBLE--SHABU--and-ASTEROID-CITY-e2731d5