Quick-Thoughts: Kogonada’s After Yang (2021)

This might be completely a me thing, but in a world where A.I. science-fiction has become such a phenomena in pop culture, I’ve grown real sick and tired of stories that build mystery around the plausibility that a robot can have *GASP* feelings, especially when those tediously contrived plot elements make up a majority of your runtime despite even their loudest attempts to make you think it isn’t heading in that direction. However, there are two fantastic flashback scenes and one great reveal towards the third act of After Yang for which convinced me otherwise that this film works. 

Thematically, there is a good amount of paralleling between an A.I named Yang and his human counterparts, and the elements that we may define most as contributing to what makes up our humanity — memory in relation to our chosen present experiences reigns huge across these ideas. There’s also brief exploration of what it means to be a certain ethnicity in the scope of textbook knowledge vs. our own endured histories, which is something that would be quite hard for me not to relate to as an Asian American. In both instances though, I still wish it had given us even more time to expand these studious discussions rather than in the development of its fairly ordinary mystery, because if done so I think this movie would’ve ended up being great, if not, amazing overall. Any take it had on human ignorance in a corporate-ran technologically advanced society also seemed very rudimentary as well. 


Verdict: B-

2022 Ranked

“After Yang” currently does not have a release date yet.

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