In the year 2011 an industrial disease all but wipes out human kind save a few. In the year 2411, these few live in a walled in city named Bregna provided to them by the Goodchild family. The humans are told that nature has taken over the world and that they mustn’t venture outside the walls. Brothers Trevor (Marton Csokas – The Bourne Supremacy, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) and Oren (Jonny Lee Miller – Hackers, Melinda and Melinda) are the leaders of this new ‘perfect’ society. As ‘perfect’ societies go, this one is far from it. Many humans are disillusioned by their forced existence of mindless obedience and a group of rebels calling themselves The Monicans, who are led by The Handler (Frances McDormand – North Country, Fargo), plot an overthrow. The Handler gives her best agent/assassin Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron – Monster, Sweet November) the assignment of killing Chairman Trevor Goodchild. Aeon is really looking forward to completing this assignment because she believes that Chairman Goodchild is responsible for her sister’s, Una (Amelia Warner – Quills, Mansfield Park), death. Once Aeon and her colleague Sithandra (Sophie Okonedo – Hotel Rwanda, Dirty Pretty Things) infiltrate the Goodchild compound, Aeon is hesitant to kill Trevor because she gets strange feelings when she is near him as if she knows him. Aeon decides she must get to the bottom of this before she can carry out her mission.
You are thinking that this is just what we need – another movie based on a comic book character and also another movie from MTV films. Well, this film is a little different than your average comic book or music video company film. Do not go to this film expecting it to be like ‘Tomb Raider’ or the like; it is very different. For starters, much of the creative team, including director Karyn Kusama (Girlfight), is female. It is interesting that this film/story, which was based on short cartoons created and shown on MTV, obviously resonated with females working in Hollywood. Next it is a film that is loaded with respected actors. There are 4 Oscar nominees (with Charlize Theron and Frances McDormand both winning Oscars) in the cast of this film. Now, for most types of films this would be a tip off that the acting was going to be of superior quality, but a sci-fi pic of the type of Aeon Flux acting ability is not all too important (think of Keanu Reeves in The Matrix series). Come to think of it, neither is the script, which was written by Phil Hay (The Tuxedo, Crazy/Beautiful). The premise of the movie is quite interesting and leaves a lot of room for exploration (meaning sequels). Within the sci-fi genre, script and acting cannot be too poor that it is distracting, but really this type of film comes down to the believability of the characters in their roles and the special effects. What else can be said about Charlize Theron? We all know that she can act, but in this film she is really convincing as the cold, sexy and strange killing machine Aeon Flux. Her training as a ballerina came in handy for all the movements and stunts required by the role. The special effects are often quite cool and innovative. I thought “wow” a couple of times in my head while watching it. It must also be stated that the cinematography was also excellent; there are many beautiful and colourful shots of the world in 2411. Much of the camera work is artistic in nature and very stylish, which gives this film a rather unique look.
Despite all the positives about the film, there are a few negatives. Kusama, probably in trying to stay within the dark dreary backdrop she has constructed, slows down the pacing of the film to a sometimes too slow pace for a film with many action sequences. The dialogue in parts is a little clunky. Maybe the scriptwriter/director should have kept dialogue to a minimum like in the cartoon. The script also has a tendency to just quickly touch on things and never come back to them. I guess we are supposed to have watched the cartoons and know the back stories. Also some of the wardrobe is simply ridiculous. I felt that some of the slinky outfits on Theron were just used to distract the audience for awhile. I almost cried at what they made poor Pete Postlethwaite (The Last of the Mohicans, In The Name of the Father), who has a very small cameo role, wear; it looked a bit like those tunnels that dogs run through in those obstacle course competitions. All in all, because it is not like any other movie I have seen recently, I would recommend seeing this film if you enjoy dark, weird, and artsy sci-fi films.
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-The Costume Design Workshop
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