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REVIEW: LX 2048 (2021)

Some of the greatest science fiction films are those that spark discussion longer than their run time. Is there life beyond the stars? Do androids dream of electric sheep? What does blue milk actually taste like? In Guy Moshe’s latest, he has a dozen different ideas to explore in his latest sci-fi endeavour and gets lost going down every one of them in this near-future, clone-infested calamity that is LX 2048. You name the science fiction trope this film has got it – and handles them all like an unattended junk mail folder in desperate need of clearing.

Set in a world that’s succumbed to radioactive rays of the sun, society is in a lockdown in the day, and only allowed out at night. With that eerily familiar box checked off, we follow Adam Bird (Peggy Carter‘s James D’Arcy) as one of the few that are still keen on taking it day by day, even if a morning stroll requires a HAZMAT suit to get by. Time in the light may have its perks (Bird going for a drive with the top down and the chemical suit up stands out as a noticeable visual), but it isn’t always sunny in the future. In fact, things get a lot darker after Adam learns he has a severe heart condition that will be cutting his time on this dystopian planet shorter than he’d hoped.

Here’s where the complexities and overly dense conversations begin in LX 2048, that have every intention of sparking exciting discussions, but instead make you wonder how many times you’ve checked your watch. Adam’s safety-net, that he refuses to fall on when he finally does ‘buy the farm’ is a cloning process that will see a replacement step in after he passes. Naturally, the debate of identity and losing oneself to a synthetic second-chance does arise, but its execution is handled terribly. The drawn-out dialogue does nothing but ensures this future is hard to muster up much interest in, only amplified by totally unlikeable characters.

James D’Arcy’s Adam is a whiny, hypocritical loser with a failed marriage that he still can’t let go of. Yelling at people both on and off-screen, most of his screen-time consists of him shouting at empty rooms while wearing a modified VR headset, which is far more tedious than it sounds. Nevertheless, he persists in nagging his ex-wife, Reena (Anna Brewster) about his impending doom, only to get a callous response, certifying she’s less fitting as marriage material and better suited as a prime suspect in a game of Cluedo. For further insight as to why these two crazy kids can’t work things out, time is spent on past and present pitfalls and… none of it’s interesting. These two aren’t just bad for each other; they’re bad for the film as well!

The saving grace (as brief as it is) thankfully comes in the form of Delroy ‘give that man an Oscar this year or so help me‘ Lindo as reclusive clone creator, Donald Stein. Turning up to spout philosophical jargon concerning love, life and the rest with our protagonist, he’s an all-too-brief bit of light in an otherwise dimly lit world. While he may fall into the generic tech genius that played God, his backstory, albeit cliche, is far more interesting than the one unfolding here. Also, he can rock a hat like no one’s business.

Headwear and stupidly cool cameos aside, there’s little Moshe gets right with the time LX 2048 has. This is a drab dislikeable sci-fi that can’t focus on the elements it’s trying to play with and doesn’t have enough talent to keep it steady. Throw it into the radioactive sun.

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