Sci Fi Sunday: Aeon Flux September 2, 2007Posted by Ian W in : Film Reviews, Science Fiction , 2 comments
This comes across like Logan’s Run meets Barbarella without the intelligence of the former or the kinky tongue-in-cheek humour of the latter. Charlize Theron, wearing a skin-tight outfit and having a very bad hair day, plays Aeon Flux. Miss Flux is part assassin, part freedom fighter but ,as we all know, one mans freedom fighter is another mans terrorist and the rulers of the last city on earth are looking to bring her and her freedom fighter/terrorist buddies down.
You’d think that after 99% of the world’s population died mankind would be struggling for survival, even 400 years into the future but you’d be wrong. The last city looks utopian, with only the fact that some of the residents are mysteriously disappearing putting a downer on things.
This is the kind of SF movie that gives the genre a bad name. Full of what the makers doubtless thought were clever ideas (my favourite being the killer garden) this is silly, unoriginal with even the action scenes feeling stale. Why Karyn Kusama got the directing gig on this after only helming one previous film, Girlfight (2000) is anyone’s guess.
Theron looks like she knows she’s in a turkey while Frances McDormand and Pete Postlethwaite phone in their performances (probably from the bank). Everyone’s got bills to pay I guess.Film Reviews, Westerns , add a comment
What we have here is a couple of Irish lads playing at being cowboys and doing a mighty fine job of it too. Pierce Brosnan is an ex-Union officer and Liam Neeson (plus hired guns) is the man on his tail looking for revenge.
It’s been noted elsewhere that this has much in common with Eastwood’s The Outlaw Josey Wales but in that film our sympathy is always with Clint, here there are more shades of grey. When we finally discover why Neeson is hunting Brosnan three quarters of the way into the film it becomes impossible to choose sides, you understand both men and there is no right and wrong here.
Brosnan, sporting some impressive facial hair, gives one of his finest performances. Tortured by his past he still fights for survival even with the odds against him and Pierce really shows that. The first twenty minutes he doesn’t even have any dialogue but gives an incredible display of physical acting.
When the film starts Neeson appears to be the villain, he’s obsessed with catching his prey and with the odds so much in his favour we automatically root for Brosnan. Yet as the film progresses the film turns our original expectations on there head. Neeson is a hard, cold bastard for sure but not without reason.
David Von Ancken has only worked in TV in the past yet he’s created a western that is very much a big screen film. Like so many westerns of the past it tells a small character story set against the huge panoramic backdrop of the west. Ancken also co-wrote the film and he’s created some memorable characters. He’s helped by John Toll’s breathtaking cinematography that brings a touch of the epic to this small scale drama.
The film has a wonderful cast. Neeson’s hired guns include Ed Lauter and the always welcome Michael Wincott. Also turning up along the way are Tom Noonan and Xander Berkeley as a preacher and railroad foreman respectively.
The films final thirty minutes take a turn to the surreal. Wes Studi makes an appearance at a watering hole and Anjelica Huston turns up in the desert as a travelling peddler (who may just be the devil). This shouldn’t really work, in a film that has played for most of its running time as a straight western this touch of the metaphysical (and metaphorical) should jar but luckily it isn’t overdone and Brosnan and Neeson manage to sell it to the viewer.
In an age that rarely sees a new western hit the screen it’s nice to see such a well crafted entry in this neglected genre. Brosnan looks so at home (unlike that other Bond who headed out west) that hopefully this won’t be his only horse opera.