Blank is not the look given by Brooklyn Beckham whenever he is asked what his job is but instead is the writers block suffered by Claire Rivers (Rachel Shelley) as she stares at the empty page in her typewriter. Wracking her mind what to write and with a looming deadline and a publisher wanting to see the manuscript the pressure ratchets up on a daily basis. Desperate to get something down on paper she signs up for an A.I. operated retreat in a bid to unblock her writer’s block.
Once Claire arrives she finds that she has own personal android Rita (Heida Reed) to cook, clean and assist with her day to day needs. Looking like she’s OD’d on botox, dead eyed and somewhat vacuous the role of Rita would seem obvious casting for Amanda Holden but Heida Reed nails the role uttering lines ‘Maybe you should lie down’ with a passive aggressive manner that suggest her android will go postal at any given moment. And it does go wrong when there’s the inevitable technical glitch that finds Claire now locked in the retreat unable to get out or communicate with the outside world and trapped with Rita the robot obstinately unhelpful and resetting herself at the start of each new day.
Into this hi-tech world of IT the film then introduces flashbacks to Claire’s childhood (in a brilliantly production designed 1970’s house) where her blind mother. herself an aspiring writer, who dictates her own writing to her daughter – that parallel of being imprisoned then and now is a back story that’s superfluous but the film falls into thriller territory rather than exploring just how writers break their writers block and neither are satisfactorily addressed.
Blank is a female led project directed by Natalie Kennedy featuring two decent female lead roles with Rachel Shelley, something of a Courtney Cox look-a-like and with an extensive TV drama background getting as irritated with the repetitive phrasing of Rita the Robot as anyone would. It’s a film that heavily indebted to ‘Misery’ and we’ve seen the robot run amok plot before although here it’s not Westworld territory. But Blank is a not wholly successful hybrid of thriller and human drama but misses the opportunity to address the rise of Al / chatGPT that has become such a concern in the past year.
related feature: How they made those Five Nights in Freddy’s robots
Here’s the Blank trailer….