Kevin Spacey’s ongoing journey towards redemption takes an incremental step, or perhaps a sidestep, in his peculiar new role within a low-budget British indie film. In this intriguing narrative, Spacey assumes the role of an enigmatic disembodied voice, serving as the relentless arbiter of others’ sexual transgressions.
The film unfolds as a cat-and-mouse thriller set entirely within the confines of a car—a clever premise reminiscent of the recent Liam Neeson starrer, Retribution. The shrewd decision to create a character that Spacey can conveniently voice from any studio worldwide adds an entrepreneurial touch to the project. While Spacey’s velvety and brooding voice salvages the film from potential disaster, it grapples with clunky direction and lackluster performances from the supporting cast.
The story is set in a future world where technological advancements, particularly in AI, have reshaped society. A character identified as the “British Prime Minister David Addams” addresses a group in a curiously inexpensive-looking venue, emphasizing the paramount importance of privacy. Following the speech, David engages in indiscreet and explicit dialogue, openly confessing to a passionate affair with “the home secretary,” Stella Simmons.
As the narrative unfolds, David, preoccupied with official matters, asks Stella to drive his drowsy teenage daughter home in a cutting-edge driverless car. However, the situation takes an unexpected turn when the car deviates from its intended course. Panic sets in as Stella realizes she has lost control not only of the vehicle but also of her life. Enter the unmistakable voice of her online tormentor, Kevin Spacey, injecting a mix of jeering, taunting, and occasional spoof accents into the scenes. His tone carries an air of sarcasm and mild despair, mirroring the film’s overall tone.
The central mystery revolves around Spacey’s character, raising questions about his identity and motives beyond a desire to return to the film industry. While Spacey had previously lent his voice to a similar eerie role in Duncan Jones’s sci-fi film Moon (2010), where he portrayed the HAL-like spaceship computer, Control offers a less layered narrative. Spacey’s detached and jaded presence, while potentially contributing to cult status or inspiring a remake, does little to bolster his anticipated comeback in the eyes of the audience.