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If you'd like to be surprised by the Archive film, I don't recommend you to watch the trailer beyond 0:45, because it starts to give away parts of the plot.

Archive, movie (2020) - Watch the trailer on YouTube
video © Archive Films

The Archive (2020) is a sci-fi thriller film. The movie was reviewed by Kadmon.

Product: Archive, movie (2020)

Original title: Archive

Series: -

Setting: near future Earth

Product type: Film, Genre: sci-fi thriller, Style: sci-fi, thriller, action, robots

Release: 2020.07.10

Reviewer: Kadmon, Type: Male, 40s, Preferences: Immersive, logical story, consistent setting, prefers surprises to spoilers, prefers establishing elements before referencing them

Watched: very recent (2021.01), first time

Rating: Average (2 out of 3 points), Enjoyment: Weak (2- out of 3 points)

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This is my review of Archive, a sci-fi thriller movie from 2020. It's about a man trying to build the perfect robot to give a body to her dead wife's saves consciousness. The Archive film has interesting concepts, but I only recommend it to dedicated fans of sci-fi.

Archive, movie (2020) - Film review by KadmonArchive, movie (2020)
image © Archive Films

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Review (spoiler-free) - Archive, movie (2020)

I can't remember where did I find the recommendation to this movie, but it got me interested, as I like good sci-fi flicks. When I had the chance to watch it, I used the opportunity. I didn't watch the trailer before that.

The Archive movie is about a man trying to build the perfect robot to give a body to her dead wife's saves consciousness.

The story is not very good, it's pointless, and doesn't make sense. The script would have been interesting, if the writer would understand computers and AI better. The consistency is a little off, but it fits the plot, so that's okay. There are no characters arcs. There are plenty of logical problems, but those mostly come from the fault of the premise.

The cinematography is okay, the camera work is good. The visuals are nice, there are some scenes that are visually interesting. The action scenes are okay. The special effects are good.

Despite the very few characters, they are not very well developed. We don't get to know them beyond the very basics. The main (and practically only) character is not engaging. The actors were good.

The music (by Steven Price) is not very memorable, but at least it's not distracting.

This could be an interesting concept, if it were done right. However, in this case, it isn't. This movie is just pointless and boring, with some nice visuals.

Archive is a watchable sci-fi thriller, I think fans of the genre might enjoy it.

My experience

I wasn't really satisfied with Archive (2020). I happen to prefer stories with well-thought, logical plots, and Archive wasn't that.

Rating: Average (2 out of 3 points). Archive is watchable, it's an average story, with many problems.

Enjoyment: Weak (2- out of 3 points). Archive was irritating for me due to those logical problems.

Rewatchability: I'm not sure. I think it's mostly the surprise of the story that makes you feel interested.

Chance of watching it again: Unlikely. Now that I know the story, there's probably no need to watch it again.

Chance of watching a sequel: Probably. But I'd read some reviews first.

Archive, movie (2020) - Film review by KadmonArchive, movie (2020)
image © Archive Films

Will you enjoy this?

If you like mystery or thriller movies, you might like Archive.

If you like stories about developing humanoid robots (Ex Machina (2014)), you might like Archive.

If you don't mind illogical elements in your movies, you can enjoy this.

If you like unexpected twists, you might enjoy this movie.

If you prefer visuals over story, there are still some nice vistas and interesting scenes in the movie you might like.

Watching for plot points

If you are interested in futuristic stories, I think it's worth watching the Archive movie for the plot points.

Should you watch this on your own screen at home, or is it worth going to the cinema?

The visuals probably look better if you watch it in cinema, but I think the overall experience will be similar.

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Archive, movie (2020) - Film review by KadmonArchive, movie (2020)
image © Archive Films

Review with spoilers - Archive, movie (2020)

I didn't like the Archive movie.


The cover of the movie is okay, it doesn't say much, but it doesn't spoil the movie.

The trailer

The trailer does have some minor spoilers, but at least it makes things interesting enough to act as an incentive to watch the movie.

If you prefer spoilers, it's a great trailer for the Archive film. If you prefer to avoid spoilers, it will spoil some of the plot.

Promise of the first scene

We'll see a movie about an IT technician who builds robots. Based on the title, it will involve some kind of archive? I'm not sure about anything.

Execution: The protagonist was really the IT technician, but the beginning didn't hint on anything that followed. I would have preferred to have something to act as the foundation of the end.

Plot summary / Synopsis

In 2038, there's an IT technician (Theo James as George Almore) who lives alone on a facility in the mountains. He maintains and repairs the facility, while doing research on his own robot projects. He is threatened to be fired unless he can finish his latest robot, and that the robot should surpass the abilities of the work of his superior.

He talks to his wife (Stacy Martin as Jules Almore) in a video call, and she tells him that she doesn't want to continue having these conversations.

He has a large device that holds the personality of his wife. They had a car accident, and there's technology to save the personality of people for a while. He communicates with his dead wife this way.

He used the personality saving technology as a template to build his own AI systems, and he included this in his robot designs. There are three robots, each with improved mechanics and intelligence.

There are glitches in the system, that needs his constant attention. The viewer is also shown that he is being watched.

The company that saved the personality of his wife sends a maintenance crew to check the device. They find it that the device was tampered with. The IT technician sends them away.

The company who owns the facility sends a security guy, to prevent corporate espionage or theft, as there have been break ins in similar facilities. As the IT technician doesn't want to allow the security guy into the facility, they meet at a Japanese bar.

There seems to be a break-in, and the most evolved robot goes missing, but then the IT guy finds it, and the most evolved robot tells him, that the second robot took it and hid it. The IT technician switches the second robot off for a while as a punishment. The second robot later commits suicide.

The third robot gets a skin upgrade, now it looks like a creepy albino human (Stacy Martin as J3). He wants to transfer the saved personality of his wife into the third robot. The third robot hesitates. At this time, the company that owns the facility storms the facility to investigate the robots. The third robot complies, and the personality of the wife is downloaded. The assault team vanishes.

The device with the saved wife calls the IT technician, but the third robot takes the call, telling her that it will take care of him.

Then the IT guy takes the receiver, and the wife tells him, that it was the IT technician who died in the car accident, and now his simulation is over. Their kid is also there, as the wife was pregnant when the IT technician died. The wife and the kid say goodbye and they leave the personality storage facility.

The setting

Future of Earth, 2038.

They are able to build robot assistants. They have memory transfer technology.

Archive, movie (2020) - Film review by KadmonArchive, movie (2020)
image © Archive Films

The personality storage technology

They can transfer the memories of humans to simulate their personality. This only works for a limited time. The saved personality lives its life in a simulated environment. It can be contacted by people from the outside.

At the start of the simulation, they can call the simulated person through an audio-visual channel. At the end of this limited time, the contact starts to deteriorate, in the end there's only audio contact.

The simulated person is unaware of the situation, but at the end of the limited time, they can experience glitches in their simulated reality.

What actually happened

The IT guy and his pregnant wife had a car accident, but it was the IT guy who died. The wife had the memory of the IT guy transferred, so she could have contact with him. She brings up their kid.

Now, years later, the simulation is about the reach its time limit.

The message of the story

I'm not sure there's one. "No matter, what you do, you'll die one day"?

The structure of the story

The main plot of the Archive film is played in sequence, following the same storyline. The past events are sprinkled through the whole film in flashbacks.

There is no single viewpoint character.

It has the usual arc of the dramatic structure - introduction, action, resolution.

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Things I liked

  • I liked the look of the robots, and vehicles.

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How does it compare to the other works of the creators?

This is the first feature film of the writer / director (Gavin Rothery). I feel that his writing needs practice, but I'm interested in his next films.

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Archive, movie (2020) - Film review by KadmonArchive, movie (2020)
image © Archive Films

Analysis of the story - Archive, movie (2020)

I’ve found so many problems, especially related to IT, the basis of this story, that it prevented me from enjoying Archive.

Problematic elements

Misleading the audience: Most of the events in the film were only there to mislead the viewer, and that's always a bad idea.

  • We see that he is being watched - but that's just isn't true, because the whole thing is just a simulation, and why would they add voyeurs to the simulation?
  • Why does the wife say in the beginning that she doesn't want to continue? The whole scene is only there to mislead the viewer, because it doesn't make sense from either way. If the wife is dead, she shouldn't contemplate on this, because she has a nice simulation. If the guy is dead, and the wife contacts him through the simulation, then it's cruel on one hand, and strange on the other hand, as a couple of days later she calls him again, with their kid, to say goodbye.
  • The IT guy gets constantly threatened by people. Then his robots turn against him. Why would they simulate things like this? The whole point of the simulation is to provide him a comfortable setting to live in. If this was done to show us the deteriorating simulation, there should have been more surreal, dreamlike changes, so the viewer could get the idea.

The protagonist: Despite the work of the actor, the main character was written as a boring and unengaging personality. For a character-based drama like this, this is a major problem.

The Japanese bar: The thing didn't make sense. Why wouldn't the protagonist let the security guy in? If anything happens in a simulation, why does he need to spend time travelling, instead of just being there? They show us how he travels to the place, then we have an establishing shot of the location. The scenes were only padding, that just takes time away from the actual story.

The gun: This was a pointless addition. First, a gun should have been already there, especially as we have seen that wolves roam the area. Second, there was no scene with the gun that moved the plot forward.

Lack of surprise: About halfway through the movie I've already suspected the twist, because nothing happened that would allowed a hint of any other ending, and this was the only way I though they will finish the story off.

The final robot: The look of the third robot was strange. Why didn't he add any pigments to the skin and hair? Does he prefer albinos? If he wanted to create a copy of his wife, why doesn't it look like that?

The kid: Why didn't the IT guy have memories of the kid? It was indicated that the kid already knew him, and have been visiting him in the past. How did they introduce them to each other? Wouldn't it be a lot more easier to incorporate the kid as part of the simulation for his wife? So that he would think that the wife creates this imaginary kid for herself?

Unanswered questions


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Possibilities of improvement


How it could have been better?


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Behind the scenes


Thoughts about the reviews of others


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Archive, movie (2020) - Film review by KadmonArchive, movie (2020)
image © Archive Films

Uses for the film - Archive, movie (2020)


  • There's technology to save human personality.


  • The Japanese bar scene could be used for futuristic, cyberpunk stories to show a Japanese bar.
  • The robot building scenes look good, they could be used to show robots being manufactured.


  • The large multi-wheeled vehicle, and the flyer at the end looks good.

Scenario ideas - Role-playing game scenario ideas

  • There's a corporate facility that is also being used for private research in secret by the team working there. Another corporation broke in and stole that private research. The characters are hired by either a third party or by the researchers to get the private research back, without alerting the parent company of its existence. They also need to help make it look like nothing happened at the site.

Scenario ideas - Wargame scenario ideas


Miniatures - 1/50-1/60 (28-32mm scale)

Civilians: Human-sized modern / futuristic human civilians.

Humanoid robots: Human-sized futuristic humanoid robots.

Robots: Large or human-sized robots.

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Similar stories - Archive, movie (2020)


Ex Machina (2014): A man (an IT guy) lives alone with robots. He is developing the perfect android, to act as a companion.

I Am Mother (2019): A girl lives alone with a robot. An event makes her realise that things are not what they seem.

Replicas (2018): A scientist is developing the perfect android, as he wants to bring back his family, killed in a traffic accident.

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Frequently asked questions - Archive, movie (2020)

Is the Archive film based on a book or comics?

No, Archive is not based on either books or comics.

Is the Archive film a remake or reboot?

No, the Archive film is neither a remake nor a reboot.

Is there a post credit scene in Archive? Does Archive have end credit scenes?

No, there's no post credit scene in Archive.

Where can I see Archive? Where can I watch Archive online? Is Archive available on Netflix? Is Archive on Amazon?

As of 2022.01.12, Archive is available on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Microsoft Movies, Vudu, YouTube.

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Resources - Archive, movie (2020)


Independent: Archive: Official article.

Untapped: Archive: Official article.


IMDB: Archive (2020) : Database article.

WikiPedia: Archive (film): Database article.

Letterboxd: Archive 2020: Database article.

Rotten Tomatoes: Archive 2020: Database article.


: Concept art article.¤

Reviews with no spoilers - Archive film (2020)

: Review video about the Archive film with no spoilers.¤

Reviews with spoilers - Archive film (2020)

: Review article of the Archive movie, with spoilers. Includes a very detailed plot summary.¤

Analysis - Archive movie (2020)

: Analysis video, explaining the finale of Archive.¤

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Buying the product - Archive, movie (2020)

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Have you seen the Archive film? How do you like the movie? Would you recommend it to others? Do you know reviews or resources you'd like to add? What further thoughts do you have about it? Tell your opinion in the comments!


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