James D’Arcy as Adam Bird
Gina McKee as Dr. Rhys
Delroy Lindo as Donald Stein
Juliet Aubrey as Dr. Maple
Anna Brewster as Reena Bird
Written & Directed by Guy Moshe
LX 2048 Review:
Life after death is one of the most fearsome and unknown aspects of existence and the sci-fi genre has explored various means of humanity’s desire to get around the eventual state, from uploading consciousnesses onto technology to body swapping and even cloning and Guy Moshe’s LX 2048 makes a thought-provoking attempt at exploring the latter, it’s unfortunately too predictable and too overlong to make for an entertaining affair.
It is 2048. Mankind has by now destroyed the ozone layer to such a degree that normal human beings cannot be out in daytime. People spend their waking hours at night and almost everything is done inside the virtual realm. From work to school to socializing, most people just stay home and conduct their affairs from their Virtual Reality designated spaces. Mental depression has become so prevalent that the entire population is required to take the state issued pill 001LithiumX. In this new world order, Adam Bird is a rare breed. Adam insists on waking up during the day. He insists on leaving his house and going to work in a physical office. He has 3 kids in a time when most people barely breed, and he adamantly refuses to take 001LithiumX, fighting to stay human in a world that is rapidly transforming into the artificial. But things change when Adam discovers his heart is mysteriously failing. With no possibility for an organ transplant, Adam is now scheduled to be replaced by a cloned upgrade – an improved version of himself that will be supplied to his estranged wife as part of the Premium 3 government insurance plan. Spiraling out of control, Adam starts living on borrowed time, seeking to find a solution before his replica will be sent to raise his kids and replace his existence across the board.
The initial world introduction takes an actually interesting approach to the world of the future, one in which we are so reliant upon our technology that not only are we never seeing the light of day, but we no longer can as the ozone layer has made it toxic to be caught in direct sunlight. It’s a subtle enough critique on the dangers of global warming for the planet that most genre fare tends to handle with too heavy a hand and sits as one of the positives of the film, especially as technology never seems to stop advancing and our desire for them hasn’t slowed down one bit.
However, the story that we see and the characters that we follow tend to be a mixed bag of unoriginal plotting and unlikable characters that it’s hard to ever truly connect with the film. While one should generally want to sympathize for D’Arcy’s Adam, a family man rebelling against a sheep-like modern society who wants to ensure his family is covered as he faces a sooner-than-expected meeting with his maker, the way he’s written and illustrated makes it really hard to want to root for him or even care about him. From essentially cheating on his wife with an artificial intelligence sex bot to constantly lashing out at his family, doctors and co-workers, he’s not a protagonist that’s easy to connect to or feel for, making his “life” story as uninteresting as the film’s critiques on modern technology.
This isn’t to say that D’Arcy himself delivers a bad performance, because the majority of the film really is carried on the back of the Marvel Cinematic Universe star’s presence and he performs what’s written plenty well. Everything from his anguish over his impending death to condemnations of those around him all feel really believable coming from the 45-year-old star, but unfortunately his great work can only go so far to elevate the lackluster material, especially in odd attempts at levity in which Adam unfortunately faces an Oedipus complex upon calling his mother and being greeted with a 17-year-old avatar of her in skimpy clothing. D’Arcy’s shocked reactions feel real and believable for anybody that would face such a sight, but when moments such as these do nothing for the plot or the characters at large, it goes to show the odd writing choices made by Moshe.
Feeling more like an overdrawn and uninspired episode of Black Mirror rather than a groundbreaking feature affair, LX 2048 certainly raises some thought-provoking questions and tries its hardest to explore them truthfully but falls mostly flat that by the time the final credits roll, if the viewer is left pondering their own existence it’s only as to why they spent it watching this film.
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