Ambitious craft for a low-budget digital production, including coded color, strikingly bare production design and whizzy editing gimmicks, highlights Stephanie Argy and Alec Boehm’s espionage and cryptography caper “The Red Machine,” a neo-programmer set in 1935 among a world of thieves and code-crackers. In an article provided as part of the press notes, Argy says there are “cryptographic sleeper cells” waiting to be “activated” by puzzle fans. Overemphatic, stagy delivery of ripe dialogue may diminish the pleasure of other viewers. Boehm photographed; Argy edited under the pseudonym “Pansy Heritage.” With Donal Thoms-Cappello, Lee Perkins, Meg Brogan, Mo Byrnes. 84m. (Ray Pride)
“The Red Machine” opens Friday at Facets. Argy and Boehm will appear after all screenings. The trailer below gives an idea of the film’s visual style.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.