Bad Peter is the beginning of a good Black Mirror episode. Directed by Zach Strauss, it’s a slice of life look at what AI capabilities could become in the future. While the Big Brother concept isn’t new, the characterization of Strauss’s characters is what makes it an intriguing peak in.
Rachel (Frankie Shaw) is an expectant mother. Her day is regimented by a personal automated assistant. Peter is a white rectangular boxed speaker with a glowing red light that lights up like Siri or Alexa when it speaks. At first glance, Rachel follows Peter’s suggestions as a way to optimal health for her and the baby. As the film moves forward, Shaw’s performance amps up from happy and relaxed to a stressed and upset mother-to-be in a beautifully revealing way.
Simplicity is key in this film. Cinematographer Noah Greenberg gives the film a bright, clean and sterile look. Susie Mancini’s production design gives the single mother’s home a somewhat rustic and meager look. These elements enhance the viewer’s draw into the story of what eventually makes a dark turn.
Well crafted and directed by Strauss, the film’s noteworthy theme is the intersection of the justice system and artificial intelligence. It’s a future that could indeed be around the corner. Definitely worth checking out!