Who Minds the Master in Cerebrum?

Movie Reviews 101 | Daily Movie Reviews & ABC Film Challenge | Page 2By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Available On Digital HD and
On Demand on May 4, 2021

The idea of transferring the memories to a machine or even to another host in a movie (or television) series is nothing new. The reasons to do so are many, and when the motivation is just, perhaps we may even have a curse for Alzheimer’s! If only the science was real. The movie Cerebrum by the talented Arvi Ragu is a very low-fi approach to examine the ramifications in a modern day setting.

The story is about Tom Davis (Christian James) attempting to reconnect with his estranged father, Kirk (excellently played by James Russo). Any technobabble is left to a minimum and I wished there was more since I’m all for various interpretations in how to preserve the soul (or one’s memories) after death.

This man’s mother died because of the aforementioned condition, and pops just didn’t know how to raise his son on his own. He’s a scientist. Due to the loss of his loved one, he’s tinkered around and may have found the means to save anyone’s memories to a machine. The technology isn’t perfect, and that’s where the son comes in. He comes home since he’s out of work, and volunteers to be a guinea pig. While he’s under the knife, so to speak, he awakens to find dad dead and another victim to which he has to prove his innocence!

This film is more of a modern day crime than sci-fi thriller. The character drama is the true highlight here and Russo is perfect at playing a cantankerous character. He can teach others a thing or two about how to frustrate sons and daughters. However, how he behaves is a facade. There’s pain in those eyes.

James’s patience is often worn thin, but he keeps calm. Chloe (Alexxis Lemire) is an old friend who consoles. The only other major character in this group’s lives–an assistant by the name of Bruno–makes the mystery easy to figure out who’s the culprit.

I chuckled at the use of titbits and familiar looking technology to pull “a Spock” (Star Trek II: Wrath of Kahn). The idea that it’s possible to transfer parts of the soul to a container and back again is explored every once in a while. However, I worry about what the living part of that energy must feel to be torn apart from the body. Is it discombobulated or something else? After death, what parts of the soul are retained? Are we merely products of experiences or is there a soul?

A tiny bit of that exposition is explored, but that’s not what this movie is about. We’re dealing with a murder mystery that needs to be solved. Until the next film, I’m hoping for a fantasy tale to reveal how dangerous it is to be without a body at all–especially when it gets stolen! 

3½ Stars out of 5

Author: Ed Sum

I'm a freelance videographer and entertainment journalist (Absolute Underground Magazine, Two Hungry Blokes, and Otaku no Culture) with a wide range of interests. From archaeology to popular culture to paranormal studies, there's no stone unturned. Digging for the past and embracing "The Future" is my mantra.

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