No one can go out. Practically every human is on a virtual call. Man, the timing of this release is uncanny.
LX 2048 is an altered perception of how our world operates today at this very moment. By expanding and exaggerating certain elements, the film is given room to play with ideas and make suggestions about what we could potentially do now to avoid a dystopian premise. The problem here is writer and director Guy Moshe has too much on his mind.
Artificial intelligence, cloning, microchips, virtual reality, climate change, pharmaceuticals – these are all ideas that Moshe wants us to think about while experiencing LX 2048. Unfortunately, a lot these ideas are used to serve world building and exposition rather than story.
A Complex, Tangled Weave
Our protagonist, Adam (James D’Arcy), is at a desperate attempt to turn his company around in order to protect his wife (Anna Brewster) and three children. Of course, there are complications.
For starters, Adam is the only one who still goes out and prefers meeting face-to-face during work, essentially opposing the majority of the population that is on lockdown. Secondly, his relationship with his wife has collapsed, with him being kicked out of the house and unable to see the kids. Oh, and lastly, he’s dying of a heart disease and he’s about to be replaced with a clone of himself, the result of a futuristic insurance policy.
It’s Gattaca, Moon, and Ex Machina thrown into a blender, yet somehow it all feels more obnoxiously talky here than ever before.
Things Get Weirder and the Script Reveals its Holes
The film remains interesting to watch from start to finish, largely because D’Arcy proves he’s more than capable of carrying a film on his shoulders. His dynamic with the supporting cast sheds a lot of light on what Adam is like as a flawed man, constantly wanting to perfect the image of himself.
Whenever the film centers around how Adam behaves differently from the rest of society, I get interested in where the story is heading. Whenever the film focuses on Adam’s marriage problems, the story comes to a halt. Suddenly, there are a lot of dialogue exchanges where characters have predictable emotive responses squeezed out of them because the scenes demand them. Meanwhile, the talking never ceases. Instead of guiding us through a story that features thought-provoking ideas, LX 2048 wants to sit us down and talk them into our heads. Depending on the scene context, we’re either experiencing a lecture or a therapy session.
Soon after Delroy Lindo and a few other twists and turns enter the picture, the film finds its focus on the central theme of being replaced. The last half hour is undoubtedly the highlight of LX 2048, where Moshe lets the reins loose on D’Arcy and the whole film just becomes crazy because it can. But it is during this finale that I realize a lot of the film’s first half could’ve been simplified and trimmed down for effectiveness.
So Much Potential but There’s Too Much
There is a lot to like or appreciate in LX 2048. I like the editing and lighting techniques at play, which help set the mood and provide a visual aesthetic distinct from other small science fiction films. The score is lovely at some places. D’Arcy and Lindo are fantastic.
But the most important thing is I found every idea in the film interesting and I wanted to see where each one could go. I wanted to know how the entire mindset of a nation, a planet, has changed since the ozone disappeared and the sun began to fry people. I wanted to know how that affected daily politics and operations, in addition to the working-from-home premise. I wanted to know if companies are attempting to fix things.
Instead of those potential stories, LX 2048 tries to do a bit of everything. Let’s also throw clones into the mix. Let’s throw in this insurance policy concept and this pill that fixes depression. Let’s throw in relationship problems caused by our involvement with the virtual world. It’s just too much.
Each philosophical and existential idea within Moshe’s mind is like an ingredient with its own merit, but he is unable to mix the right ingredients to perfect a dish for the audience to chew on.
LX 2048 will be available on VOD and various streaming services on September 25, 2020.