An online vigilante create an advanced artificial intelligence to track down online predators. Gareth (Franklin Ritch) is a software developer and former VFX technician who is brought in for questioning by agents Dena Helms (Sinda Nichols) and Amos McCullough (David Girard), due to them finding photos of a young girl named Cherry (Tatum Matthews) on Gareth's hard drive. However, Gareth reveals to them them that Cherry isn't real, but instead an A.I. program he designed to help entrap online predators. As the years progressive, Cherry's intelligence begins to exceed that of humans, which raises questions about her autonomy.
The Artifice Girl is the feature film debut for writer/director Franklin Ritch, who also co-stars as Gareth, the software designer who created the advanced A.I. Cherry, played excellently by child actor Tatum Matthews. The story of the film is told in three extended scenes, with each chapter having a sizeable time jump, ending with an elderly Gareth (Lance Henriksen) having a final conversation with Cherry, 50 years after her creation.
While The Artifice Girl is a dialogue-heavy film that's almost akin to a play, the subject matter of the film is fascinating, as Cherry becomes more human than human over the years, leading to ethical questions surrounding the fact that she was created solely to entrap online predators. While technically still science fiction, recent documentaries such as last year's A.rtificial I.mmortality, suggests that advanced artificial intelligence isn't as far off as it once was. Altogether, The Artifice Girl is a quite solid debut for Franklin Ritch, which will leaving you wondering what exactly it means to be human.