Software developer Sergei (Karl Glusman) is on top of the world. His presentation on quantum computing for tech guru Forest (Nick Offerman) has gone very wellâso well that Forest has invited Sergei to the super-secret Devs project in a well-protected building separate from the rest of the Amaya corporate campus outside Silicon Valley. But shortly after Sergei sees the source code of what theyâre working onÂ at Devs, he ends up dead, and itâs up to his girlfriend Lily (Sonoya Mizuno) to find out why. Forest is truly obsessed with the Devs project and is willing to go to great lengths to protect its secrets; Lily, on the other hand, is not going away quietly and is determined to get to the bottom of Sergeiâs death.
Written and directed by Alex Garland, who brought us the intellectually engaging and visually stunning sci-fi movies Ex Machina (2014) and Annihilation (2018), Devs continues Garlandâs exploration of artificial intelligence, determinism, identity and megalomania. If everything is pre-determined by an infinite chain of cause and effect, are we really on the hook for our actions? Or if indeed there are an infinite number of universes where our decisions play out in slightly different ways, does it matter much what we do in this one?
Itâs fun to see Offerman in such a different role. His character Forest is sincere yet so haunted that it takes quite a performance to reconcile his nice-guy-next-door father figure with the sometimes-ruthless leader of one of the worldâs most high-tech companies. This ainât Ron Swanson. Mizuno does fine as Lily, at her best when she allows herself to embrace her anger. Other cast standouts include Zach Grenier as the menacingly deadpan Amaya Chief of Security Kenton and Jin Ha as Lilyâs droll but badass ex-boyfriend Jamie.
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