Critical Analysis Of The Scene ‘I Did Not Murder Him’ From I, Robot
In this Critical analysis, I will be discussing the scene from I, Robot ‘I did not murder him’. In 2035, technophobic homicide detective Del Spooner of the Chicago PD heads the investigation of the apparent suicide of leading robotics scientist, Dr. Alfred Lanning. Unconvinced of the motive, Spooner’s investigation into Lanning’s death reveals a trail of secrets and agendas within the USR (United States Robotics) corporation and suspicions of murder. Little does he know that his investigation would lead to uncovering a larger threat to humanity.
He then joins hand in hand with a Robot named Sonny to help save the human race. Despite Detective Spooner’s hatred towards the robots (due to past events that left him to realize that robots are no good as when he was in a car accident they saved him and not a little girl as he had more of a chance of living). He and Sonny find a way to work together.
Sonny is able to portray human emotion. This is what distinguishes him from the other robots. This is one of the main reasons why he and detective Spooner are able to work together in an alliance as Sonny will understand (to an extent) why detective Spooner is driven to do the right thing.
In the opening of the scene ‘I did not murder him’ Detective Del Spooner winks at his boss before entering the interrogation room. Sonny is seen seated in the center of the room with only a table in front of him, he is also surrounded by armed police on both sides of him. This leads the audience to think that he is extremely dangerous as they are already in a stance and ready to fire as soon as Sonny steps out of line. This also creates fear and suspense for the audience as the portrayal of Sonny is deemed to be unpredictable and harmful. As Detective Spooner enters the room he places photos of the dead scientist Dr. Lanning on the table hoping Sonny would give an insight or confession to how or what happened to Dr. Lanning, however it is almost as if Sonny takes no notice of these photos as his curiosity takes over, which then when asked to respond leads him to ask a question about Detective Spooner’s Wink towards his boss. His curiosity is arguably as innocent as a child as it seems that he doesn’t understand the amount of trouble he could possibly be in but yet feeds into his fascination of the human interaction and tries to understand what the gesture means. Detective Spooner then decides to respond in a way that will lead the conversation back to the investigation by saying ‘it is a sign of trust’ the use of the word trust signifies a firm belief which is powerful and sacred to us as humans as it is in our nature to trust someone in order for us to work, be in a relationship or friendship with etc. Once that trust is broken we begin to distance and protect ourselves. We as the audience already know the amount of trust Detective Spooner has for these robots which is little to none. So we know (or think we know) that due to detective Spooner hate for robots, this interrogation isn’t going to end well simply because of the distrust. As the scene continues we see that Sonny seems to express human like emotions such as fear as he says ‘I was frightened’ when asked by Spooner why he was hiding at the crime scene. This also illustrates child-like behavior as well as human behavior as children tend to hide when they’re scared. Sonny also refers to Dr. Lanning as ‘My father’ which shows his attachment towards his ‘creator’ Unlike the other robots, Sonny has a name, giving him identity, the name Sonny is of English origin meaning ‘Son of ours’ which makes sense to why he would call Dr. Lanning ‘My Father’. Spooner catches on to this and instantly corrects him by saying ‘your designer’ he does this as if he is trying to remind Sonny that he is just a robot and in his own words an ‘imitation of life’.
Although in this scene Spooner seems as if he isn’t trying to understand Sonny his words and actions do not match up, though he is trying to separate the robot (Sonny) from humans he seems to ‘level down’ (by sitting down at the table and being at the same eye level as Sonny, instead of standing as he did previously showing that he has much power and he is above him in the law and as a human). Spooner then begins to inform Sonny that robots do not feel fear, they do not get hungry, they do not sleep etc. To Spooner’s surprise, Sonny informs Spooner that he feels all of those things making the line between humans and robots a lot thinner than Spooner thought prior to entering the interrogation room. You can then see that this begins to irritate Spooner as he goes into more detail about what humans can do and what robots can’t do, for example, he begins to list things like; ‘Can a robot write a symphony? Can a robot turn a canvas into a beautiful masterpiece?’ trying to imply that robots are not able to do things outside of what humans want/need them to do. Sonny, however, ignores the fact that Spooner is trying to keep the lines of robots and humans at a far, he asks Spooner if he is capable of those things himself by simply saying ‘can you?’ this shows that although we as humans are capable of doing these things, many of us cannot, whose to argue that this isn’t the same for robots? Which is why Sonny’s response was so profound. It is as if Spooner and Sonny had swapped roles as Sonny is showing emotion and understanding like a human would whereas Spooner is finding it hard to and is trying to justify and make sense of everything Sonny is saying just like a robot. This now brings us to question, are robots more moral than humans? Although we as humans like to think that what we are doing is right 90% of the time, we fail to understand that we live a life of trial and error, though we may have good intentions the result doesn’t always turn out the way we’d want it to. With robot’s morality is more so calculated as what is the greater good. As demonstrated when Spooner’s life is saved by a robot due to him having more of a chance of living the robot illustrates him obeying the three laws. 1. Robots cannot harm humans or allow humans to come to harm, 2. Robots must obey humans, except where the order would conflict with law 1 and 3. Robots must act in self-preservation unless doing so conflicts with laws 1 or 2. These laws are programmed into Asimov’s robots — they don’t have to think, judge, or value.
Throughout I, Robot the battle between ethics and morality is what separates the humans from the machines, as stated before when the robot had to choose between Spooner and Sarah (the child) the robot chose Spooner due to his ethical programming, however, if it was a human in that situation the human would save the child due to his moral values. In conclusion, themes such as fear, ethics, and morality, choices, power, and friendship are all key elements of the movie as throughout we see the bond between Sonny and Spooner grow once they begin to understand each other. The theme of science also plays a large role in this movie not just because of the mechanics of how the robots are built etc., but how we as humans use elements of power and trust to determine our decisions which is how we are psychologically built.
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In this Critical analysis, I will be discussing the scene from I, Robot ‘I did not murder him’. In 2035, technophobic homicide detective Del Spooner of the Chicago PD heads […]