Film Review – After Yang (2021)

Title – After Yang (2021) 

Director – Kogonada (Columbus) 

Cast – Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja, Justin H. Min

Plot – A family in the near future struggle to come to terms with the loss of their android helper Yang (Min) after he unexpectedly breaks down and they try and uncover ways to restore him back to life. 

“There is no something without nothing”

Review by Eddie on 24/08/2022

A gentle sci-fi drama from up and coming director Kogonada, After Yang tackles familiar themes of what it means to be human and the blurred lines between what makes human intelligence different to A.I intelligence, all the while balancing a softly spoken family narrative that allows Colin Farrell to once more prove his on one of the hottest acting streaks in the industry. 

Gaining attention at last years Cannes and Sundance Film Festival’s, After Yang is another feather in the cap of Kogonada who follows up his well-received Columbus with this feature that came before his critically adored Apple TV series Pachinko and his efforts here are noteworthy in the way in which he gives his low-budget offering a futuristic look and feel without a flying car or neon sign in sight, while also ensuring his tale of Farrell’s Jake trying to fix his families A.I helper Yang after his unexpectedly shuts down, leading Jake to find out more about Yang’s history and the way in which he saw the world around him. 

There’s little in the way of backstory here, either for the world in which the story takes place in and for Jake and his family that also includes Jodie Turner-Smith’s Kyra and Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja young girl Mika and for some this may be a frustrating aspect of the film that unfolds around our characters but thanks to the work of Kogonada’s actors and the titular man himself, After Yang is equivalent to a nice stroll amongst nature that may not lead to any unexpected outcomes but is refreshing and worth your time nonetheless. 

Helping give After Yang a strong sense of purpose at all moments is the understated work of Farrell, who here dials things way back as the quiet but thoughtful Jake. 

After recent memorable turns as the hobbled Penguin in The Batman and the devilishly bad Henry Drax in the underrated mini-series The North Water, Farrell is an entirely different creation here in Kogonada’s affair and while the film never calls for Farrell to do anything outlandish in action or words, there’s a power to the well-liked Irish performers turn here that helps make After Yang a heartfelt exploration of the human condition and a small film that is worth your time. 

Final Say – 

There’s nothing groundbreaking about After Yang’s story or delivery but there’s an overwhelming sense of heart that flows throughout it making it another fine entry in the growing catalogue of Kogonada’s works.  

3 1/2 dance off’s out of 5 

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