Synopsis: A fatally ill man tries to secure the future of his family in a world where the toxicity of the sun forces people to stay inside during the daytime.
Stars: James D’Arcy, Anna Brewster, Delroy Lindo, Gabrielle Cassi, Gina McKee, Jay Hayden, Juliet Aubrey, Linc Hand
Director: Guy Moshe
Running Length: 103 minutes
TMMM Score: (3/10)
Review: It’s easy to look back in hindsight now and say that many of the films released since the beginning of the pandemic have had uncanny timing but you have to admit that stepping back it is odd that in the last half year audiences confined to their homes from danger outside have had so many movies with claustrophobic narratives to keep them entertained. Titles like The Rental, The Owners, Relic, 1BR, Vivarium, and the upcoming 2067 have either held the message to “Get Out” or “Stay In” and the directive can be confusing, especially if you just want that simple escapism to take your mind off of the creeping virus we learn more about from day to day. What might have originally been produced with the intention of being a slick twist to a stifled genre now comes with the burden of being another ominous harbinger of even more danger to fear in an already precipitous time.
You can add the futuristic LX 2048 to that mix of films that have arrived at an odd moment in history. Written and directed by Israel-born Guy Moshe, it joins a long list of movies set years from now where our way of living has become unstable, forcing the Earth’s population to come up with a different solution to continue our existence. With the sun’s light turning lethal, people have to stay indoors during the day, venturing out only in heavy Hazmat suits to protect them from exposure to toxic levels of radiation that will kill them. Most have opted to live in a virtual state, interacting through a digital platform and being replaced by clones once their human form has ceased to exist. There is next to no human interaction and those that do choose to go into the office or continue to lead their physical existence do so at their own peril and often without the presence of their loved ones who have moved into what basically the Cloud.
This brings us up to date when we meet Adam Bird (James D’Arcy, Cloud Atlas), a man that has resisted the transition away from humanity and wants to keep his connections with his wife Reena (Anna Brewster) and children. The trouble is they have moved on without him and Reena especially resents him for his unwillingness to join in on the next stage of evolution. They’re heading for a divorce when Adam discovers he is dying and seeks to make final amends before his time runs out and he’s substituted by a replicant with upgrades in personality and physicality designed by his wife. Working against a timeline he can’t control in an uncertain future, Adam attempts to seek alternate options for his finality that would suggest he has more control over his fate than he was originally led to believe.
Moshe introduces a wealth of interesting concepts in the film at the outset, ably laying the groundwork for what could have been a nice blend of questions of morality and mortality set in a future world where time is of the essence and the possibilities of imagination are endless. The trouble is that the characters, all of them and I do mean all of them, are so intensely unlikable from the start that as a viewer you find yourself literally leaning away from the screen the longer the film goes on. Though the visuals are well rendered for the most part, there is a particular ugliness in the character qualities of Adam’s resolutely passive aggressive mealiness and Reena’s selfish manipulation that it’s hard to find any warmth to relate to. As a viewer, I simply didn’t care what decisions were being made, by whom, or why. That’s a fairly large hurdle for a director to put in your way.
Unfortunately, though D’Arcy is a strong actor and can handle this type of material, that character likability factor becomes a major problem in the final act when it essentially becomes a one (well, two…kinda) man show. It becomes, frankly, an interminable watch and at 103 minutes feels like a self-indulgent screenwriting experiment that needed editing down. Even the presence of the normally engaging Delroy Lindo (Point Break) as the reclusive scientist behind the technology that has provided the advancements to essentially save the human race does little to spice up Moshe’s drab, overly talky sci-fi drama. It doesn’t help matters that it’s a hard to follow narrative at times as well, with timelines jumping and converging at odd moments that don’t always line up. Usually, there are better connections and visual cues that assist viewers in putting the pieces together…at least at some point.
Before eventually becoming a tedious meditation on one’s own existence, the film already has lost its way in the wilderness between two plots and one ill-advised side tangent involving a sex-doll come to life. There’s more than a little overlap between this and Blade Runner 2049…but only in concept, not in the intelligent execution. It isn’t required to have likable characters for a movie to succeed but you do need to provide some reason for them to exist and Moshe hasn’t given his creations (or viewers) in LX 2048 much hope for the future.