It's easy to get lost in our favorite devices, right? You escape into another world, and maybe take a break from reality. We've heard the term "new normal" a lot lately. What if that became the "new normal" in our near future. LX 2048 is so much more than a story of a connected world. It's a story of identity, family, love and one man's descent into madness.
The best way to tell you about the film is to give you the synopsis provided to us: "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."
Here's the thing about Adam Bird. That character really had me on a rollercoaster. One minute, I sympathized with him, even rooted for him. The next minute I felt like he deserved everything that he got and then some. To me, there was really no middle ground there. What was really interesting is considering that he was the only one who was not altered by this drug that everyone was taking for their depression. Right or wrong, he faced the world as it was, and that was certainly not an easy thing to do. There was also a "be careful what you wish for" aspect to this, as well. He asked for things to be a certain way, then couldn't handle it when he got it.
Despite my feelings about the character himself, James D'Arcy was incredible in the role. You could tell he put every ounce of energy into his scenes, which was one of the things that really kept me watching. The way that he and Anna Brewster played off of one another was great, as well. Now her character was one that I did not like from the start. Understanding her anger was one thing, but agreeing with her endgame was another. Don't get me wrong, another great performance, but you could argue that she was the villain of the film quite frankly.
One of the best things about LX 2048 were the visuals and the presentation of the near future. Sure there is a dystopian aspect to it, but it doesn't lean heavy into destruction. Things clearly aren't normal, and the problems are clear, but we're not talking about the world being on fire and rubble being everywhere either. It also doesn't lean heavy into future tech. There is a very realistic approach taken with most things. Having that kind of realism in sci-fi was refreshing, I must say. I don't normally go to science fiction for grounded content, but this film gave it to me anyway, and I enjoyed it. Oddly enough, some things end up leaning into how are lives are in 2020. This film was made before then, so just call it an interesting foreshadowing.
That's not to say that this film is perfect. We do get to see Delroy Lindo in the early stages of the film, which is great. His character is also part of the introduction of a very interesting storyline. The problem is, we really never get back to it. Sure there is a callback near the end, but it doesn't get the focus or the payoff that it probably should have. You get the impression that this is something that will eventually get explored, and it never really does. I feel like a bit more time could have been spent on that. I understand that this film was largely Adam's story, and what he was willing to do for his family, but not following up on this more seemed like a missed opportunity.
Speaking of family, Adam's children are mentioned a lot, but we rarely see them throughout the story. Having them be a bigger part of the emotional arc could have certainly added more depth. It certainly would have added to the impact of what would ultimately be the climax of the film. This is another instance where there were references, but no actual payoffs. It doesn't necessarily feel like leaving the door open for a sequel either. The ending does seem pretty open ended, and does leave you scratching your head a bit.
Ultimately, LX 2048 makes you think, and certainly introduces some interesting ideas. Premium 3 is something I found myself thinking about through the entire film, so that alone had me intrigued. Director Guy Moshe wanted this movie to be character driven, and it certainly was. He also wasn't shy about featuring his star on screen, a lot. James D'Arcy owns every scene that he is in and is worth the price of admission all his own. While this film likely won't blow you away, I bet you'll find yourself thinking about it even several hours after you've seen it. See for yourself and tell me if I'm wrong. LX 2048 is now available at your favorite VOD retailer.
OVERALL RATING: 3/5
Want to hear my interview with director, Guy Moshe? Go here!
Photo Credit: Quiver Distribution