Technological Supporting roles in Film

It’s no secret that technology has become an integral part of our lives. Whether we’re checking our phones as soon as we wake up or spending the entire work day in front of a computer, we’re constantly engaging with gadgets.

So, it comes as no surprise that these gadgets would be featured in the retelling of our life stories. Especially when these stories are told visually, as is the case of movies. Most modern (and even older) movies feature some form of tech in developing or even resolving the plot. Like people falling in love through their laptops or hostage situations being resolved over the phone.

But sometimes these tech costars have more prominent roles than usual. They even have supporting roles in the sense that they become so deeply ingrained in the plot that the story wouldn’t make sense without them. Let’s have a look at some of these tech supporting roles and how they’ve aided in telling the story.

Stars of the big screen

When we consider computers that feature in feature films, we need to make the distinction between computers as we know them (desktops and laptops) and artificial intelligence. Both are valid as computers, but the way they’re used differs quite a bit.

With conventional computers, we see a great example of a supporting role in the 2014 film The Imitation Game. The film is based around the development of a machine (or computer) to decipher an intricate set of code in order to get the leg up on the Nazis who communicated through these codes.

As for artificial intelligence, one of the best examples to use is the 2013 film Her. The main character quite literally falls in love with an operating system. In this sense, the artificial intelligence is seen as a costar as it speaks and interacts with the protagonist.

Automotive actors

For cars, we’ll look at two different ways they’re used in films. Firstly, the use of cars as emotive characters and then cars as inanimate objects that are crucial to the plot development. For both cases, there are many examples, but here we’ll feature two that best illustrate the point.

Our first example, the 2005 film Herbie: Fully Loaded shows a car that interacts with costars and its surroundings. The car is independent and self-serving and makes decisions that influence the other characters. We also see a strong relationship between the protagonist and the car which drives home this film’s cuteness.

Herbie the car

The 2004 film I, Robot is an example of a vehicle not serving as a character, but more as a tool to develop a certain chain of events. In this film, the storytellers used the futuristic Audi to signify the start of the protagonist’s downfall. From the beginning, he’s seen using his self-driving car to commute. The car is in control of the route and the speed.

Once the robots take over, we see the car no longer acting in the protagonist’s best interests. If we see the robot army as a character, then this car is a supporting actor. It actively takes part in the robots’ attempt at world domination.

They phoned it in

When it comes to cell phones, it’s quite difficult to narrow down movies that prominently feature them. Most movies from the past decade will feature a cellphone in some way. But, we’re looking for instances where the phone actually contributed to the storyline. Not just any modern movie where someone books a plane ticket through mobile.

So, the first example is the 2003 film One Missed Call. The phones in this film are directly involved with the death of the protagonist and several other characters. It can almost be seen as an accomplice in these murders. In this sense, the use of a phone goes beyond the normal everyday capabilities we expect from it and changes how the story develops.

The second example takes this even further. Let’s look at the 2016 film Nerve. In this film, mobile phones are used to take part in a dangerous game where many people die and where many lives are ruined. This already qualifies this example as the phones are partly responsible for disastrous events.

articificial-intelligence films

But this example can be taken a step further. It’s the social platform used in the film that causes most of the chaos, and this social platform is a feature unique to the mobile nature of a smartphone. So, this means that both the phones and their features become prominent characters in this film.

For the hardcore fans

If you are like many who enjoy films more than the average person, you might want to emulate these films and make them part of your life. If that’s the case, you can always consider bidding for the pieces used in these films. But that will no doubt cost a lot of money.

You can, however, simply use them as inspiration. For example, look for used Audis that look like the ones used in your favourite films, or check out some second-hand models of the computers used.

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