Autonomous (Movie Review) by Jacqueline N.

autonomous-posterDirected by Michael Jeffs and starring Machelle Noel, Mason Banks and Adam Gilmore, Autonomous is an original short film that is sure to keep viewers on the edge of their seats wondering which direction the story will go in.

Buckle up and get ready for a suspenseful short film that is sure to keep viewers on the edge of their seats! When Verity (Machelle Noel) and Stewart (Adam Gilmore) are riding in a new autonomous vehicle on their way to vacation, they think everything is going well, until the autonomous vehicle tells them that on their route the car is scheduled to hit and kill a family of four.

The story takes a dramatic turn when the self-driving vehicle alerts them that it is scheduled to hit and kill a family of four on their current route. The autonomous vehicle who introduces himself as A.L (Mason Banks) explains that they can also choose to instead hit a convicted felon, but will take responsibility for it. A.L also informs them that if they choose to disable the car’s navigation system to stop the car, it will most likely kill them as a result.

In order to avoid killing the family, the car can only be rerouted to kill a convicted felon or they can disable to car’s navigation system which will most likely kill them. With only seconds to decide, Verity and Stewart must make a choice. What will they choose to do?

The first scene introduces Verity and Stewart a couple who are in a autonomous self driving vehicle on their way to their vacation destination. The first few minutes everything seems to be going well. A.L drives safely and keeps them effectively updated on their route and when they will arrive at their destination. Nothing with the car seems to be defective, but there is a shocking twist when the vehicle explains that is is scheduled to hit and kill a family of four on their route. Verity and Stewart are then given the other option to change the course, avoid killing the family, but instead hit and kill and convicted felon and be blamed and held accountable for it. They also come up with a third option to disable the navigation system in the car, but A.L informed them that this will most likely cause the car to crash and kill them.

As the car speeds down the road waiting for the passengers to make the insanely difficult decision, the suspense builds. Seconds before the car is scheduled to hit the family, Verity says she knows what to do and the screen goes black and A.L says, “Very interesting results indeed. Shall we try the next one?” Leaving the audience wondering if this was a test, what was decided and eagerly awaiting a sequel film.

The rest of the film is filled with suspense as Verity and Stewart try to decide what choice to make in the horrific circumstance. The film ends on a cliffhanger as the screen goes black and the A.L says, “Very interesting results indeed. Shall we try the next one?” By doing this the audiences are left wondering if this was all a test and creating their own imagined endings of what they think happened. They will also think about what decision they would make if they were in this situation which is able to include the audience into the film in a unique way.

It thought that this film had an original and well written script and had great production and direction. I also that that the actors Machelle Noel, Adam Gilmore and Mason Banks were all talented and effective in portraying their characters. Machelle Noel and Adam Gilmore both were skilled at showing the range of emotions they were facing in the terrifying situation. Mason Banks also had a great tone as the voice of the self-driving car. The lighting and camera angles used were clear and really effective. The film also centers around the relevant topic of self-driving vehicles highlighting people’s fascination along with their distrust and uncertainty with these new futuristic cars.

Overall, this is a well made short film that is not only very suspenseful and engages the audience, but also influences them to wonder what they would choose if they were in this situation. Audiences are able to create their own endings on what they think would have happened due to the cliffhanger ending which is also unique and engaging for the audience.

Release Year: 2017

Cast: Machelle Noel, Mason Banks, Adam Gilmore

Director: Mike Jeffs

Run Time: 7:26 minutes

Official Website:

Social Media Pages:

jacq n.jpgJacqueline Nofal | Writing Contributor
B.A | Communicatons | UC San Diego
Jacqueline is fourth year student at UC San Diego and will receive a BA in Communications and minor in music this June. She has always loved writing, telling stories and making people laugh. She is continuously captivated by a story’s ability to inspire, entertain or bring hope to people. She loves reading, watching movies and definitely anything Disney! She also has a love for music. She has been singing most of her life and is currently singing in the La Jolla Symphony Chorus. In her other free time you can find her traveling, volunteering, listening to music, going to the beach and just enjoying the San Diego sunshine! Instagram @jackie.nofal | View My Articles

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