When his young daughter's beloved companion — an android named Yang — malfunctions, Jake searches for a way to repair him. In the process, Jake discovers the life that has been passing in front of him, reconnecting with his wife and daughter across a distance he didn't know was there.
I found in After Yang something I had been searching for for a long time. It is particularly special to me as an Asian whose culture and sense of belonging has faded with each passing generation. My recent quest to rekindle what was once of my ancestors has been especially difficult in a climate that has so flagrantly looked down upon me. After Yang provides a sense of relief in the idea that who you are is not solely defined by where you come from. **My full 5-star review: ** https://www.cinemasolace.com/reviews-%26-articles/f/review-after-yang-%7C-sundance-2022
FULL SPOILER-FREE REVIEW @ https://www.msbreviews.com/movie-reviews/after-yang-spoiler-free-review-sundance-2022 "After Yang may have some pacing issues, but Kogonada's beautifully thoughtful storytelling and ASKA's unforgettable, tear-inducing score transform this piece into a contemplative, inspirational cinematic experience. A profound, sincere study of what it means to be a family, what it means to be loved, and how important it is to remember where we come from. A fascinating look into the core of humanity through the heart of a robot - both literally and figuratively. Exceptional performances, but Colin Farrell stands out with a subtle yet potent performance. Occasionally, it loses itself amid its admittedly gorgeous wide, static shots. Still memorable, nonetheless." Rating: B+
I’m unsure what After Yang tries to accomplish (does it want to be a cautionary tale about the evils of privacy-violating technology? A gentle meditation on the nature of memory? The manifesto for a hypothetical AndroidLivesMatter movement?), but I do know that whatever it is, it fails – just like Jake (Colin Farrell) and Kyra (Jodie Turner-Smith) fail to parent their little daughter Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja). The movie takes place in an indeterminate future where it is possible to buy “an older sibling for Chinese adoptions” (a possibility that is oddly specific). Some years before the events of the film, Jake and Kyra “bought Yang [Justin H. Min] to connect Mika to her Chinese heritage”; or, as Jake puts it, “teach her Chinese fun facts.” Pray tell, ¿why couldn’t they just have adopted two Chinese children, and have one be older than the other? Also, if they really want Mika to connect with her Chinese heritage, how about giving her a name that is, you know, Chinese? Though to be fair to writer/director Kogonada, I think Jake and Kyra are actually meant to be terrible parents; the real problem is that they don’t seem get any better at it by the end of the movie. But let’s start with the beginning; after what appears to be a nationwide, or maybe even worldwide, rhythm-matching game in which “over 30,000 families” participate (the opening credits are accompanied by a montage of the film’s characters and their families engaging in this competition, suggesting an entirely different movie than the one we are about to watch), Yang conks out, setting the plot, such as it is, in motion. Jake goes to a few places to have Yang repaired, and in the process the element of spyware is introduced, only to be quickly abandoned in favor of Yang’s “memory bank”. You see, “The memory banks allowed the technos [or techno-sapiens] to record a few seconds each day. The labs were trying to understand what technos considered memorable.” This raises a number of questions that the movie can’t be bothered to bring up, let alone answer. Are these “few seconds” all that the technos ‘remember’ from each day? And if so, does that mean that whatever they don’t record is as good as if it never happened? And wouldn’t that leave them with the memory retention of a goldfish (or that of Guy Pearce in Memento)? Not exactly the kind of carer I would want to entrust my infant daughter with. Moreover, since we only see Yang interacting with the other characters in random snippets that make his life seem like a Terrence Malick film, we are unable to piece together exactly why he was so important to them. All things considered, I would have been more interested in the Before and the During than in the After Yang.
When a futuristic family are doing their daily exercise regime one morning, the robotic companion for the young "Mika" (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja) has a bit of a freeze. Pestered by the - frankly annoying - child, mum (Jodie Turner-Smith) and dad (Colin Farrell) decide it has to be fixed, so the latter takes it to a friend of a friend after it transpires their warranty doesn't cover "core" failure. Anyway, his new diagnostician suspects that the chip that controls the young "Yang" might contain secret spyware - and suggests that he goes to visit a scientist who might be able to open up the chip and get to the truth. It's got elements of iRobot (2004) to it, but otherwise I found it all a little too sterile. The story is delivered via flashbacks mixed within the contemporaneous plot, but essentially this is just a rather dry observation of a fairly unremarkable family whose toy has broken down. Such more sinister elements to the film as there are - a few big brother-esque themes - are largely undercooked. There is hardly any of Turner-Smith on screen, and what there is doesn't gel at all well with a Farrell who has lost much of his on-screen charisma and is now little better than a jobbing actor whose face we recognise. Perhaps it does tell us something about love and of the nature of affection, but only superficially and I can't say I found there to be much to write about with this. Sorry - it will look fine on the television, I wouldn't bother a cinema with it.
I really liked what _After Yang_ was attempting to do. There was a really deep, interesting story about loss, but unfortunately the weight of the topic drowned this movie. The movie was barely 90 minutes long and it felt like eternity watching. The emotional impact was destroyed by the slow pacing. In my opinion, this movie had no business being as long as it did. There was not enough material in order to make a feature length film and would have been better suited at a short film. **Score:** _57%_ | **Verdict:** _Decent_