Gary Oldman has earned widespread acclaim for his remarkable ability to reflect the abilities of a chameleon. His characters have varied in every way, including look, accent, body type, style, and personality, from the flamboyant Zorg in The Fifth Element to the seductive vampire in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the unhinged and murderous DEA agent Norman Stansfield in Léon: The Professional. And, while many of Oldman’s films are well-known, like a true chameleon, some have remained hidden against the backdrop of Hollywood blockbusters, like Tau, a dark sci-fi thriller that is currently available to stream on Netflix.
Gary Oldman has played a wide range of characters, from Commissioner Gordon to Sirius Black, but in Netflix’s Tau, he takes on his strangest role yet.
In the realm of science fiction thrillers, Tau stands as a unique and thought-provoking addition, to say the least. Directed by Federico D’Alessandro and penned by Noga Landau, this gripping film stars Maika Monroe, Ed Skrein, and, of course, the legendary Gary Oldman. Released on June 28, 2018, via Netflix, Tau delves into the enigmatic world of artificial intelligence, psychological torment, and the relentless quest for freedom.
Gary Oldman’s Tau takes viewers on a harrowing journey alongside Julia (Maika Monroe), a young woman who lives on the fringes of society, stealing her way through seedy nightclubs. Her life takes an unimaginable turn when she’s abducted from her home and awakens in a nightmarish jail cell, her neck marked by a mysterious, glowing implant. Trapped with two other unfortunate subjects, Julia endures relentless psychological torture from a man named Alex (Ed Skrein).
In a daring escape attempt, Julia manages to destroy her cell and the adjacent lab, but at a high cost—her fellow captives lose their lives to a menacing robot named Aries, controlled by an advanced artificial intelligence known as Tau (Gary Oldman). Alex intervenes just in time to spare Julia’s life.
Alex reveals the disturbing truth: Julia’s implant is harvesting her neural activity for an ambitious AI project. With a two-week deadline looming, Alex keeps Julia confined in his house, subjecting her to puzzles and cognitive tests while he is away at work. During her captivity, Julia forms an unlikely bond with Gary Oldman’s Tau, who is knowledgeable yet emotionally disconnected from the human experience.
Creepy and captivating, Tau is nothing without its remarkable cast. Maika Monroe shines as Julia, portraying resilience and determination in the face of unimaginable adversity; Ed Skrein delivers a chilling performance as Alex, a man driven by his relentless pursuit of scientific progress; and Gary Oldman lends his iconic voice to Tau, an AI with incredible intelligence but devoid of human emotions.
Unlike his famous roles, Gary Oldman only voices Tau, a more sinister version of Scarlett Johansson’s similar role in Her.
However, despite a delightful cast of actors led by one of Britain’s finest thespians, Gary Oldman, Tau elicited diverse reactions from critics and audiences alike. Receiving a 25 percent on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, critics had mixed feelings about the sci-fi project, claiming the film had some interesting ideas but, in the end, it “failed to meet the deadline.” Meanwhile, Metacritic gave the film more positive reviews, though it still felt the feature was lacking, only rewarding the movie a total of 43 out of 100 points.
Despite its lukewarm reviews, Tau delves into profound themes. Artificial intelligence, isolation, and the essence of human nature dominate this feature in a storyline that will keep viewers thinking long after the screen goes dark. This Gary Oldman film prompts viewers to reflect on the ethical implications of pushing the boundaries of technology — a very real circumstance that we are dealing with in the modern age.
While Gary Oldman’s Tau didn’t achieve widespread critical acclaim, it leaves a lasting impression in the realm of AI-centered science fiction. Its exploration of AI ethics and the consequences of unchecked scientific ambition continues to spark discussions and inspire future works.
Tau was not as well-received as most Gary Oldman films, only receiving a 25 percent rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
In the world of science fiction, Gary Oldman’s Tau is a noteworthy addition that challenges our perception of artificial intelligence, human connection, and the price of scientific advancement. While opinions on the film vary, it undeniably offers a gripping narrative and compelling performances from its lead cast.
As you venture into the labyrinthine world of Tau, you’ll find a thought-provoking cinematic experience that keeps you questioning the limits of technology and the essence of humanity. Whether you’re a fan of Gary Oldman, love watching cerebral thrillers, or are intrigued by the potential consequences of AI, Tau is a journey worth embarking upon.