Film Review: Artificial Justice

FIFTY+SA Arts Reviewer, Dave Bradley, reviews the Spanish-Portuguese thriller film Artificial Justice, screening as part of the HSBC Spanish Film Festival 2024.

The Madrid-born Verónica Echegui is the best thing about this not-quite-science-fictional thriller from co-writer/director Simón Casal, whose production filmed in his grey-skied hometown of Galicia. Her performance grounds the chilly story and gives it much-needed heart, although some might be surprised by the lack of humour here. But, of course, AI is no joke.

In a near future, respected judge Carmen Costa (Echegui) is called upon to assess artificial intelligence software (THENTE) which will supposedly automate, depoliticise, and generally speed up the justice system. However, Carmen has already been approached by Alicia (Alba Galocha), one of the designers of the program, who was deeply concerned about the software’s many serious moral problems.

When Alicia is killed in an accident, Carmen decides to investigate, and when she resists calls by other tech types and her own colleagues to support THENTE, she’s soon being followed by dark figures and enduring scandals. And Casal’s film becomes a cybernetic variation of those ‘New Hollywood’ paranoid American suspensers from the 1970s like The Parallax View, Night Moves, The Conversation, and even All The President’s Men.

But don’t worry because AI will make everything wonderful, and your life will be so much easier and happier.

Oh, come on: what could possibly go wrong?


Artificial Justice is screening as part of the HSBC Spanish Film Festival 2024

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