The 10 Most Underrated Movies About Artificial Intelligence

5. S1m0ne (2002)

There’s a thing with Andrew Niccol films that years pass and they feel more relevant. Take an example from “Gattaca” and then think how many times you have seen this or that thing in “Gattaca” is becoming reality. You can argue the same about his much underrated, constantly entertaining “S1m0ne”.

It follows a director whose film is endangered when his star walks off. So our main character Viktor Taransky has to find an actress who can replace her perfectly. He finds the solution by replacing her with an AI actress. It’s a bit even uneven and could go to deeper places but NIccol’s films is constantly thought-provoking and given the recent concerns about actors regarding replacing them with AI, it’s even more relevant. Niccol is in a familiar area there with social critiques and a thought-provoking storyline about where technology can take us.

Even though the seemingly whole world falls in love with our AI actress Simone for a while, Catherine Keener’s character feels little more important than Al Pacino at times because it feels like she’s there to remind us that as perfect as AI can get, it can’t replace real human emotions and real human complexity. There might have been studio interference when it comes to the ending but overall the film leaves you provoked and charmed at the same time.


4. I’m Your Man (2021)

Finally a little bit of romance, this time from Germany. It was selected as the German entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 94th Oscars but didn’t get a nomination, maybe that’d bring this visibility. It co-stars Dan Stevens who’s a talented actor with notable career achievements and a prior experience of playing an AI-like character (not saying in which film, in case of spoiling it if you haven’t seen it) but still no major star enough to bring attention to his projects.

The film is set in Berlin in the near future: The scientist Alma works at the Near Eastern Museum. She allows herself to be persuaded to take part in an extraordinary study and now is supposed to live with the humanoid robot Tom from the company Terrareca for three weeks. He is programmed entirely to appeal to your character and needs.

The concept of AI is always a good tool to use in films to ask questions about what it makes us truly human as well as our human feelings and desires such as love and freedom but “I’m Your Man” is more than that. It’s a rare combination of a film that has the feel-good romantic comedy element that can delight you on a moody Sunday evening but also intelligent enough to make you think or ask questions humanity, co-dependency, life, our need to connect and the nature of relationships.


3. Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)

Colossus The Forbin Project (1970)

Directed by Joseph Sargent of “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three”, the film is about Colossus, the super-computer which has been designed to take control of all US military installations, created by Dr. Charles Forbin (Eric Braeden). You can tell it’s not the best idea ever and that it won’t end up well and then indeed, it doesn’t. Then we even find out the Soviets also have a similar system and now the AI are taking over the major powers in the world.

The thing about 70s films about developing technology tend to be dated for obvious reasons but they’re almost so incredibly interesting to watch. Take this or Sidney Lumet’s “The Anderson Tapes” for example, they were ahead of their time. Besides, “Colossus” stands out for various reasons: it’s a film that has something to say and doesn’t rely on cheap thrillers. It uses its small budget effectively and might actually go to places you don’t expect it to go.

Now that we’re living in the era of AI in a world where there’s still so much tension between world powers, it’d be interesting to visit (or re-visit) this underrated classic. There had been reports of remake ideas over the years for this one and it could actually work with the right people and right kind of update on the story.


2. After Yang (2022)

Colin Farrell had an incredible year in 2022. He was part of the ensemble cast in one of Ron Howard’s best recent films “Thirteen Lives”, then almost stole the show with an unrecognizable performance in “The Batman”, and of course, his Oscar-nominated performance in “The Banshees of Inisherin” which arguably he should’ve won for.

While he deserved all the recognition for “Inisherin”, one can argue that “After Yang” featured an equally strong performance from him. His character Jake owns a tea shop. He and his wife Kyra have adopted a Chinese girl, and in order for Mika to learn about her Chinese culture, language, and roots, they have purchased a used and sentient android, a boy named Yang, who grows up with her and helps her adapt to them to feel comfortable. Yang becomes unresponsive one day. Jake searches for a way to repair him and… well, you better see the rest for yourself.

As usual with director Kogonada’s work, it’s a beautiful, soulful, and poetic movie. This is a melancholic meditation on our current times, the entire relationship between humanity and technology. Just like some other films on the list, it asks us to think about what it really makes us a human.


1. The Artifice Girl (2023)

One of the biggest surprises of 2023, “The Artifice Girl” doesn’t have many recognizable faces other than genre legend Lance Henriksen who shows up late but certainly makes an impression. It doesn’t have a big budget, not even many sets but what it has is an engrossing plot and some very finely written dialogues that will sure to get your attention. Franklin Ritch’s intriguing debut feature consists of three chapters.

First one starts off with an interrogation where you don’t know where the story goes on but the dialogues are so relevant that you want to see more of it. Then we learn our main character has created an AI-generated girl named Cherry to bait child predators without endangering any “real” people. The second chapter is set in decades after and then in the third one, everything comes together to ask a question: Should they obtain Cherry’s consent to move her into the physical world? Can they?

It’s a thought-provoking, surprisingly emotional film with interesting ideas. In a way, those who enjoyed “Ex-Machina” will like this as well but even if you don’t like that one, it’s still worth it to give “The Artifice Girl” a chance. This might have more to offer than you expect.