|Image courtesy of Uncork’d Entertainment|
I’ll Be Watching (2023) follows an up-and-coming painter named Julie played by Eliza Taylor (The 100, The November Man) who experiences a family tragedy while attending a local showcase of her work. Some time goes by since her loss as she’s now relocated up North with her tech guru husband Marcus played by Bob Morley (The 100, Love Me) to feel some semblance of safety.
Her recent loss and an injured foot caused by Marcus’ robot cleaner have her more on edge than usual, so he’s reconfigured Hera, an artificial intelligence designed to keep them and their home safe, to be wired into nearly every facet of their new home. Running out of milk? Hera can put in an order to the nearest grocery store. Need to do some laundry? Hera can load in your whites and colors with ease. Julie starts to feel some peace as with Hera around, she barely needs to lift a finger.
While her work and everyday activities have been hampered by her injury, she pushes through with the pain medication that her psychiatrist has prescribed her. She begins to add downing glasses of wine to her routine as it tends to take her mind off of tragedy and monotony for a while. Part Smart House and part Disturbia, while the film borrows a bit from more engaging material, it tells an interesting narrative carried by Taylor’s lead performance.
Another plus for the film was the cinematography and sound design. Rather than overbearing sound effects or dramatic musical stings, as it treads into darker material, the airy and atmospheric beats implemented were a breath of fresh air. As the film becomes visually darker, the characters and the environment are displayed clearly with keen attention to detail.
The last few moments of the film weren’t entirely necessary as it picked up with everyone in Julie’s life making her question her sanity but Taylor’s pathos made it feel earned given the circumstance she’s had to go through. It was an enjoyable film with really strong performances and a great social commentary on the over reliance of technology and how grief affects people.
— Michael Omoruan