The Uncanny Valley of “I’m Your Man”

Anthony Lane in The New Yorker:

Allow me to introduce Tom. You’ll like him. Tom is handsome and sleek, with a discreet dress sense and all the social graces, but what really counts is that he’s kind. You can’t beat kindness. He won’t bug you or bore you, and so exactly will he meet your needs, whatever they are, that it’s as if he understood, in advance, what they were going to be. And did I mention that he knows a lot? As in, everything? To sum up, Tom is quite a guy. If you want to be picky, or downright rude, you could point out that he’s a robot, but hey: nobody’s perfect.

Tom is played by Dan Stevens in “I’m Your Man,” a new German comedy from the director Maria Schrader. No date is given, but the setting appears to be the near future. It looks just like the present day, only cleaner—a good joke in itself, given that, as moviegoers, we have had it drummed into us that the world to come will be dystopically horrible. Yet here we are, in and around Berlin, mostly in blessed sunshine. The streets are so uncrowded as to make us wonder if, and how, the population has been thinned out, though we hear not a whisper of catastrophe.

More here.