Aeon Flux movie is a visual treat in the post-apocalyptic / dystopian subgenre. The back story explains that in the year 2011 a deadly virus wiped out 99 percent of the world's population.
The scientist Trevor Goodchild developed a cure and 5 million of those who remained were crammed into a city called Bregna, which became the last refuge of mankind. The Goodchild family ruled the city for four centuries.
Review by SAndman
July 11, 2009
Director: Karyn Kusama
screenplay: Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi
characters: Peter Chung
Charlize Theron as Aeon Flux
Marton Csokas as Trevor Goodchild
Frances McDormand as Handler
Jonny Lee Miller as Oren Goodchild
Sophie Okonedo as Sithandra
Amelia Warner as Una Flux
Pete Postlethwaite as Keeper
Aeon Flux: We're meant to die. That's what makes anything about us matter. Living like this is torture... we're just ghosts...
As Aeon Flux, the heroine of the movie, recounts in the opening scenes the Goodchilds had everyone believe that they had created a perfect society. They had built the huge wall around the city explaining that the nature outside the wall had reclaimed the earth, they also built Relicle, a strange dirigible like object floating in the air above the city to remind the survivors of their past.
She also tells us that in spite of the Goodchild's propaganda the people in the city were far from happy. They were troubled by mysterious memories, and the rumors of citizens disappearing without a trace. Some questioned the Goodchild regime and in effect became rebels, or the so-called Monicans. They fought on behalf the oppressed and the disappeared.
Monicans utilized martial arts as well as biochemical and genetic enhancements which enabled them to perform well-nigh miraculous feats of physical prowess. They modified their bodies and redesigned their anatomy to suit their need for stealth and speed. They were feared and hounded by the regime.
Aeon Flux is the best Monican operative. At the beginning of the movie she gets an assignment from the Handler, who works in the capacity of a coordinator of all Monican operations. Aeon communicates with the Handler via a telepathic link which opened in her brain after she swallowed a capsule she had got from another Monican on the street. She is to take out a Goodchild facility.
Before the raid she meets with her sister Una and takes a rain check on the dinner Una planned for her. Una is sad as she has been hoping it would be an opportunity for Aeon to meet her fiance, Claudius. Una disapproves of Aeon's fight. Generally, Una comes across as a down-to-earth lovable girl who does not want to face up to the uglier facts of life in the "gilded cage" that Bregna city is.
That night Aeon sneaks into the facility and with her usual flair manages to place a bomb into Goodchild's surveillance center. Having accomplished her task Aeon returns home and finds out that Una has been killed by government agents. When next time she meets with the the Handler to get another assignment it is not just a job anymore. This time it is revenge.
On top of it, this assignment may well be her most difficult yet. She is to break into the Goodchild headquarters and assassinate Trevor Goodchild himself.
Aeon Flux is a visually impressive movie which stands out for its bold and original concept. And though absolutely compelling in some of its aspects, it is sadly lacking in others. On the one hand, the look and feel of the movie are outstanding but on the other hand, the predictable plot and especially the blatantly shallow characters outweigh its merits.
Another thing is that the movie is just too short, which is a real pity since the story has tonnes of potential. It tackles many themes, perfect society, surveillance, immortality, personal identity and cloning. Enough to fill up a dozen SF movies. However, the general impression is that most of these ideas were barely touched on.
There is a fundamental lack of explanations in the movie. For instance, the surveillance center from the beginning of the movie. It might be some sort of a device for monitoring the citizens of Bregna by way of picking up their mental signature. Your guess is as good as mine. That's the one thing you notice about this movie right off the bat. You have this dazzling vision of the future but you are never sure how it all works.
What you come away with are the choreographed sequences full of kinetic energy, plus the beguiling graphics and excellent photography. And a bold idea. To think of, it is so little in a movie which could have been so much more.
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