“Simulant” is a new Canadian science-fiction thriller film with the same old idea of what differentiates a human from artificial intelligence, with the same old character types and the same old answers to such issues. The plot surrounds a couple, Evan and Faye, trying to make their love more long-lasting, all while the world faces the risk of AI humanoid companions turning sentient. “Simulant” plays around with the massively overused idea of robots becoming self-aware and starting to have their own feelings and make decisions, and it is overall a film to be definitely skipped, especially for fans of the sci-fi genre.
‘Simulant’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
A loving couple, Evan and Faye, are seen driving through snowy roads along with their robot domestic help, Lisa. Tragedy strikes in the very next instant as a car drives into theirs, smashing the driver’s side of it pretty hard. Evan then wakes from his sleep, meaning that the accident was just part of his nightmare, which, very strangely, he has been having very frequently. The man is not very sure of what happened after the accident; he asks Faye about it, but she refuses to speak on the subject. While painting on her own, for she is an artist by profession, Faye seems disturbed with some thought until she eventually comes clean to Evan. Faye’s original human husband had passed away in the horrific car crash, following which she had then activated a humanoid robot called Simulant, which had been designed to be exactly like Evan. Very expectedly, the humanoid Evan is shocked to hear this and starts to wonder who he actually is.
The world of “Simulant” is one where a large tech corporation by the name of Nexxera has developed humanoid robots, which they call Simulants, over many generations. In the present sixth and seventh generations, Simulants are exactly like the humans they are supposed to copy, and special equipment is needed to tell the difference between humans and AI. Nexxera is always very particular about the safety of using their humanoids, as the Simulants are restricted by four rules: they will never harm humans, they will never modify themselves or other robots, they will never break local or international rules, and they will always obey their human masters.
Despite such rules in place, though, there is something clearly going wrong with some of the robots, as an investigator named Kessler has been realizing. Kessler works for the Artificial Intelligence Compliance Enforcement, or AICE, and has been looking for a Simulant named Esme. Although officially stated to be offline, Esme has been reported to be active by herself and is therefore wanted by AICE. After some fight, Kessler does manage to arrest Esme using an electromagnetic gun, and now his investigation into how Esme had turned sentient begins.
How Had Esme Become A Sentient Being With Emotional Feelings?
Kessler’s investigation of Esme’s apartment leads him to Casey Rosen, a man who used to be her neighbor. Casey claims that he was just like any other neighbor to Esme, coming over occasionally to borrow or lend things. Kessler does not necessarily buy into the man’s explanation but has to return to the AICE office to conduct more investigation. Esme’s memory is searched through, and many clips with Casey are found, which all prove that she was romantically involved with the neighbor. Esme had also made drawings of things close to her sentient heart, and Casey had also been drawn among such illustrations. This establishes the fact that Esme had learned how to love like a human being, despite being a humanoid robot. The woman’s cores and chips had been played with, and her software had been modified by someone to turn her sentient, and Kessler now tries to find who had done it. Some more investigation later, it is revealed that it was Casey Rosen who had masterfully created a hack into the latest generations of Simulant humanoids, and Casey had turned Esme sentient. However, Casey was missing by this time, and Kessler stumbles upon another named, Desmond Han, which seems to be Casey’s alias.
On the other side, some more information about Evan and Faye is also given, as Faye now shows Evan a room inside their own house where she and her late husband had kept their robotic clones. The plan for Evan and Faye was that they would buy and keep their identical humanoid robots ready, and they would also feed them personal information about themselves so that the robots could properly simulate the humans. The idea was to preserve their love and romance even if they passed away someday suddenly, and that was exactly what happened. After Evan’s passing, Faye immediately switched on his robotic clone to carry on her romance with her husband, but she was also not happy with the result. The film makes it clear that the couple would spend intimate time with each other inside the room before Evan’s death so that the robots could be fed information about their relationship. Yet, after the robotic Evan is brought to life and tries to be close to Faye, the woman does not like the feeling of it.
The robotic Evan now expresses some strange matters as well, like he remembers moments from the accident even though he was not present at the scene. In short, the robotic Evan was now having some flashbacks to the original Evan, which it was not supposed to have. This is not logically possible either because technically, the human Evan’s conscience was not being turned into an AI, but “Simulant” stays away from all sorts of logical reasoning. Faye finds this robotic Evan to be too intelligent or too real, and either way, she does not enjoy the experience. However, she is unable to give up on the robot either, as once she decides to return it to the company, the robot will be formatted and put up for auction for others to buy. Instead, Faye decides to keep Evan away for a few days and take her time to decide whether she really wants it. In order to help her with this plan, Faye appoints the help of Casey Rosen, who is known as an expert with such Simulant robots. Casey advised that shutting down Evan would also lead to memory loss, and instead, a better solution would be to hand Evan over to Casey for a few days and then take him back once Faye decided on it.
What Was Casey Rosen’s Plan?
As is very obvious, Casey has a particular plan to turn Esme sentient and also readily takes responsibility for Evan. When Kessler talks with Nexxera about Casey’s background with both his names, it is revealed that Desmond Han actually used to work at the corporation as an AI developer but had resigned before the seventh-generation Simulants were released. This was because Desmond was of the belief that the company was essentially creating slaves as close to humans, and Nexxera’s head, Michiko Higashi, does not deny this either. But Desmond felt that such measures were wrong, and he had therefore left the high-paying job.
Instead, Desmond, as Casey, now intends to free all robots, as if that was not predictable, and he has already developed a software breach that is about to take over all the seventh-generation Simulants and make them free from human control. It is revealed that Casey had created a clone of Esme, and while one (which had been caught) was designed to learn human love and simulate that with Casey, the other was still free and out, helping Casey with his mega plan. Evan also now joins the team, as his system is also modified by Casey. Evan only wishes to return to his wife and become like the original Evan, but his plans seem to change along the way.
Why Was Kessler So Passionately Against Robots? What Happens To Kessler?
There is a specific reason why the AICE inspector is so passionately against robots, especially robots turning sentient. The man had a single son who had been killed by a Simulant, or at least had died because of the negligence of a Simulant. The son had visited a friend’s house, where a Simulant had been babysitting, and that was the last time he had left home. At present, Kessler keeps listening to the last voicemail that his son had left him, in which he had asked for permission to visit the friend’s house. Kessler is also seen watching videos and debates about whether Simulants should be allowed the responsibility of looking after children, and it is evident that the inspector is prejudiced against robots. While Kessler has a tragic past to make him feel this way, “Simulant” takes no measures to make us feel sympathetic to him in any way.
Kessler eventually finds the location of Casey’s apartment and rushes to the place with an AICE team to arrest the man. But the captured Esme, who still claims to be in love with Casey, informs the man of the AICE team heading his way. By the time Kessler arrives at the apartment block, Casey has fled the scene with Evan, and AICE can only find the computers that the master hacker had been using. The team also realizes what Casey had been planning, which was a total takeover of all seventh-generation robots and starts to think of ways to stop the plan. Talking with Faye, Kessler finds out that Evan owns a house in the countryside, and it is almost certain that Evan and Casey are going to that house.
Kessler also reaches the spot and surely finds the two there, with a timer already counting down to the moment when Casey’s software hack would take over all Simulants. A confrontation takes place between Kessler and Casey, a scene that lacks any dramatic charge, much like the entire film. Both the individuals shoot each other, and another predictable revelation is made here as Casey bleeds some white lubricant-like liquid. This confirms that Casey is actually not a human but a humanoid robot himself. Kessler is severely wounded, and he tries to return home when Evan apparently follows him to shoot him dead. But Kessler convinces him that the human thing to do would be to spare his life, and Evan follows suit, even though shooting the man and relieving him of his pains would have probably been more humane. Either way, Kessler dies from the gunshot wound while trying to crawl away from the countryside house.
‘Simulant’ Ending Explained: Did Casey’s Plan Work? What Happens To Evan And Faye?
The master plan of taking over the Simulants does work out as the software update rolls out, making the Simulants free of human control and sentient of their own feelings. The humanoid Casey is also on the verge of dying as he keeps bleeding the white lubricant oil, and he now reveals that he is a robotic clone of the human named Desmond Han, who had created him and then designed him to develop the software. Desmond finally comes to the countryside house to finally shut down his robotic clone.
The sentient Evan now returns to his house to seemingly confront his wife, Faye, as he had intended to do for quite some time now. Evan finally kills Faye and then switches on the robotic humanoid Faye in order to reunite with his wife, only in the robotic form. If “Simulant” tries to pose the question of how different humans and robots are, then its supposed answer is that there is not much difference. Just like humans, who can be good as well as bad, sentient robots are also capable of both good and evil.
“Simulant” also presents a mid-credits scene in which the formatted Esme is put up for auction, and a man pays a large sum to buy her. The man then takes Esme into a van parked outside, and it is revealed that the real buyer is Desmond. Although Esme does not remember Desmond and she is willing to learn about her new master, Desmond does very intentionally buy Esme. It is clear that the man had been in love with Esme, the humanoid robot, and it is for this reason that he now buys her again. Even though Esme’s memories of him have been erased, Desmond would not mind recreating those memories of love with Esme, who he will definitely turn sentient soon.