2067 is a cerebral sci-fi thriller from Australian writer/director Seth Larney. The film is set in a dystopian future where climate change has eradicated all plant life. Humans survive by breathing synthetic oxygen, but at a terrible cost. The artificial air causes a “sickness” that is killing the remaining population. 2067’s detailed plot has several intriguing mysteries at its core. They unfurl slowly while the primary character faces an existential crisis. It’s an interesting journey, but saddled with melodrama. 2067 gets bogged down and weepy at critical junctures.
Kodi Smit-McPhee stars as Ethan Whyte, a technician that works underground on the last city’s unstable nuclear reactor. He volunteers for as many shifts as possible. His beloved wife (Sana’a Shaik) is dying from the “sickness.” She needs the highest quality oxygen to survive. Ethan’s father, Richard Whyte (Aaron Glenane), was a renowned scientist who predicted the coming apocalypse. He died when Ethan was a child, but left his son a truly bizarre gift.
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Ethan and his lifelong best friend (Ryan Kwanten) are summoned from the dark depths to the gleaming headquarters of Chronicorp, the producers of synthetic oxygen. The company’s CTO (Deborah Mailman) has a shocking proposal. They have engineered a solution that could possibly save humanity. But for an unknown reason, Ethan must be the one to use the device. He is forced to make a fateful choice. Stay with his wife in a dying world, or leave everything behind for a chance to save it.
2067 cuts back and forth to pivotal moments in Ethan’s life. We see these scenes from other perspectives as he uncovers the truth. The unanswered questions that drive the story will keep you guessing until the very end. The film tries to balance the intricate narrative with heavy philosophical themes. Problems arise when the characters struggle with the emotional toll. Kodi Smit-McPhee spends a good chunk of the runtime bawling his eyes out. The supporting characters also join the cry fest. The downbeats become too prevalent.
2067 is an indie that looks like a big-budget Hollywood film. It has an impressive production design and special effects. Seth Larney (Tombiruo) worked extensively as a visual effects supervisor. His considerable experience is evident from the opening frame. We watch as the world succumbs to ecological disaster. The aftermath is a bleak hellscape of industrial pollution, oxygen ATMs, and blood-sputtering death. Larney then switches gears completely to a lush green setting. The change is striking and artfully done within the context of the story.
Hard sci-fi fans and abstract thinkers will appreciate Seth Larney’s conclusion. I could have done without the onslaught of tears, but liked the story’s sophistication. The puzzle comes together for an exhilarating, surprisingly deliberative finale. The line between faith and science is not always clear. Both are needed to achieve the extraordinary, especially when facing the dire consequences of climate change. 2067 is a production of Arcadia, Futurism Studios, and Elevation Production Finance. It will be available October 2nd on demand from RLJE Films.
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Film critic, raconteur, praying for dolphins to grow thumbs and do better.