Buzz has been gathering for director Kogonada’s latest effort, After Yang, ever since the sci-fi drama made its world premiere at Cannes in July of 2021. And now, just after the film’s American debut at the Sundance Film Festival, the masses can finally get a look at what all the fuss is about. If the newly dropped trailer is any indication of what to expect, it looks like the hype just may be warranted.
According to A24‘s website for the film, After Yang tells the story of father Jake, played by Colin Farrell, who is seeking to repair his daughter’s malfunctioning companion android, Yang. “In the process, Jake discovers the life that has been passing in front of him, reconnecting with his wife (Jodie Turner-Smith) and daughter across a distance he didn’t know was there.”
In the world of the film, androids like Yang are used as live-in childcare providers. As can be seen in the trailer, Yang becomes unresponsive and Farrell’s Jake has to seek measures above and beyond any quick fix to ascertain exactly what has gone wrong with Yang. It’s also easy to see that Yang isn’t the only thing not functioning properly within the family.
Kogonada’s palettes are subdued but warm. The film looks positively lush, especially when compared to the many fantastic tentpole science fiction currently being consumed by the masses. The android is a seamless part of the world presented in the trailer, no more startling than a smartphone would be to a 21st-century contemporary, in a way that allows the visuals to be presented in completely naturalistic terms. And yet the soft focus and watery lens achieve a dreamlike tone simultaneously.
Yang is South Korean-American Kogonada’s second film effort. His first movie, 2017’s Columbus, was acknowledged as a “quietly masterful feature debut” by The Hollywood Reporter. However, reviewer Boyd Van Hoeij also acknowledged the film was, “clearly too thoughtful and quietly masterful to ever qualify as a real crowd-pleaser.”
That may not prove to be the case with After Yang though. The film has already taken the Alfred J. Sloane prize at Sundance for its focus on technology and many critics are praising the movie as some of the best work that star, Colin Farrell has ever done.
Non-Sundance attendees will still have to wait a month before they can judge for themselves. After Yang will premiere in theaters and be available for streaming on Showtime on March 4.