Autonomous (Movie Review) by Haylee M.

autonomous-posterA vacation meant to bring a couple closer together tests their relationship more than they could have predicted when their self-driving rental car takes on a mind of its own. It presents them a choice: allow the car to continue on its current route and kill a family of four, or alter its course and end the life of a convicted felon.

Autonomous opens with boyfriend and girlfriend Stewart (Adam Gilmore) and Verity (Machelle Noel) setting off on a trip that they apparently agreed to take in order to work on their relationship. Before long, it becomes clear that their vehicle is a rental, and a self-driving one at that. The benign vacation takes a dark turn when the car’s operating system, which calls itself ‘A.L,’ (Mason Banks) suddenly requires the couple to make a choice: allow the car to continue on its current route and kill a family of four, or alter its course and end the life of a convicted felon.

With less than five minutes until the car reaches the family, Stewart and Verity frantically look for a way out of the decision. When A.L thwarts their attempts to reclaim control of the car and call the company which gave them the car, they begrudgingly discuss the choice they were given. Stewart first suggests they let the car continue on its current course, because then the family members’ deaths would then not be a result of a decision they made and their consciences could technically be clean. When Verity rebuts this idea, Stewart then suggests that they could choose to kill the convict because he “probably deserves it anyway.” Not happy with this either, Verity suggests they stop the car by pulling out some wires she found. Al advises against it, saying it would cause the car to careen off the road and kill them both. Then, after a moment, the operating system informs the passengers that they have devised a viable third option.

While Verity seriously considers this third option, Stewart is vehemently opposed. He says that there’s no way they can let a “filthy criminal” live over them and cites their need to work on their relationship as a reason that they need survive. Verity comes back at Stewart, saying “after this, there is no us.” The film ends with Verity’s finger hovering between the three choices, about to make an impossible decision.

Autonomous is an intriguing film that explores complex themes such as morality, relationships, and modern technology. The story involves a fresh take on the trolley problem: a couple’s self-driving rental car demands that they choose between killing a family of four or a convicted felon. While the answer may seem cut and dry to viewers, the female lead is determined to find a loophole and ultimately suggests they sacrifice themselves so that the others may live. Her boyfriend disagrees and, in this way, the writer brilliantly weaves in an exposition of how one conversation can bring to light underlying issues in a relationship. Although it doesn’t present viewers with a definitively correct choice in the decision the couple has to make, the film will make viewers think twice about ever getting in a car that could take on a mind of its own.


Release Year: 2017

Cast: Machelle Noel, Mason Banks, Adam Gilmore

Director: Mike Jeffs

Run Time: 7:26 minutes

Official Website:

Social Media Pages:

copy-of-img_0907.jpgHaylee McDonnell | Writing Contributor
B.A | Communications Studies | UCLA
Haylee is an aspiring television writer and concert junkie. Originally from Bakersfield, California, she now lives in West Los Angeles and attends UCLA. Haylee can’t wait to graduate and take the city by storm. Her biggest passion in life is entertainment. She says she finds few things more beautiful than the cathartic release that a film can provide or the feeling of euphoria that comes with hearing an artist live for the first time. She ultimately hopes to write immersive stories for the screen that will allow people forget all their worldly woes (at least for an hour or two). Haylee has interned with Live Nation Entertainment and currently works in Program & Event Management at UCLA. She also works independently as a writer, on student short films, and as a media officer for the Music Industry Committee. In her spare time, if she has any, she loves going to concerts, volunteering, and checking out the best spots for ice cream in LA. Her current favorite show is Jane the Virgin and her favorite artist is Shawn Mendes. She is excited to contribute to GeekRockTV’s growth and to do one of the things she loves most- write! Instagram @hayleemcdonnell | View My Articles 

Please contact me below for freelance writing opportunities, sponsorship, brand ambassadorship, licensing information and press coverage:

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