Spoilers might need a few things explained.

Science fiction is not all about special effects. Actually you can eschew special effects altogether and rely purely on the narrative. This feature in particular focuses entirely in the dialog and cast performances to convey a concept. This concept is not new, but I found it very superbly executed. However, I am biased since I’m already interested in science fiction dialog, so if you don’t have an inclination this will not work for you.

THE ARTIFICE GIRL (2022) is written and directed by Franklin Ritch. We start in what looks like an interrogation scene where special agents Dena (Sinda Nichols) and Amos (David Girard) are questioning a paranoid programmer named Garreth (Franklin Ritch). Where this goes and how it turns out I feel is better left for you to discover. This eventually will reveal itself to be a techno-thriller where vigilantism against online child predators results in the development of AI and beyond.

This feature is very much centered in dialog filled with technological speak. Now, this is where I must temper my bias a bit. I found a lot of the terminology was at least close to accurate while the techno-babble we usually get is kept close to zero. For some audiences the tech part of the dialog might not only be less reachable or they might not have any desire to listen to it. Your mileage might vary.

What does work is the strong performance of all four main roles. The character of Cherry (Tatum Matthews) is controversial in the very beginning until we learn her origin, and then she does once more become controversial when we take in the very central topic of AI sentience. As an added perk, we do get Lance Henriksen later in the runtime as we get ready to tackle the prickly subject of digital rights of the digital kind. Rather than using action beats, the directory actually resorts to revealing a new secret every few moments while presenting a new one.

Highly recommended for science fiction fans. To reiterate, it is very much centered in dialog and dramatic performance. Even with the requirement of listening to a lot of technologically focused terms, you get amazingly solid performances from all the cast. Particularly impressive is young newcomer Tatum Matthews. AI sentience is hardly a new subject, but in this feature it was executed well and relatively approachable for even the casually interested. Very much worth a watch.

That will do for now.