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Review: LX 2048 (2020)

It’s been ten years since Guy Moshe last directed a feature, and that was the batshit action fantasy Bunraku. Now he’s back with LX 2048, an entirely different kind of film. It’s a character and dialogue driven dystopian science fiction about cloning and what makes a person a person. And if you think it sounds pretentious…

Adam Bird (James D’Arcy, Dunkirk, Master and Commander) lives in a future that resembles our current COVID-19 present. People work from home. They rarely interact in person, preferring interaction via social media and virtual reality. However, in the world of LX 2048, it’s because pollution has destroyed the ozone layer and going out in direct sunlight can easily be fatal. As a result, humans have also become nocturnal.

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But not Adam. He gets up every morning and drives to work in his offices and insists on face to face meetings as often as possible. And while most people think bringing children into this world is a bad idea, he and wife Reena (Anna Brewster, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, The Last Days of American Crime) have three sons. He also refuses to take the Lithium X pills that help the rest of the world function in this new reality. Better make that soon to be ex-wife, it seems for all his distaste for VR she caught him having an affair with Maria (Gabrielle Cassi), an AI girlfriend of his own design.

As LX 2048 begins, we also find out he’s dying. But he has an insurance policy that will replace him with an enhanced clone. Which he isn’t thrilled about at all.

I wanted to follow an average joe in Adam Bird. A man who tries very hard to be a good and responsible provider to his family. But that somehow still remembers he is first and foremost a human being – a biological creature.

Guy Moshe

Moshe has the makings of a great film here, but he sabotaged himself right out of the gate. He claims he wanted to make a film about an “average Joe” person caught up in this future. But Adam is a wealthy business owner, with a Mercedes convertible and multiple large homes. He can afford a suite of corporate offices, even though he’s the only one who uses them. That’s far from average in the real world. He’s also an insufferable prick, it’s impossible to like or sympathize with. He constantly blows up at everyone around him and blames them for his own poor choices.

Not that any of the other characters are much better. Reena is written so shrewishly she’s almost a misogynistic caricature of an ex. But that gives Adam a reason to constantly refer to her as a cunt, which just adds to the distasteful feel. It doesn’t help that Maria is a fawning bimbo, Adam’s idea of the perfect woman. Donald Stien (Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods, The Core) the cloning genius Adam seeks out is another generic mad scientist. You’re supposed to like him though because he’s a real man who packs a gun and talks about freedom. And despite it being banned, he smokes. How fucking edgy.

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With a more compelling story, LX 2048 might have overcome this, but Moshe starts with what might have made a good episode of Black Mirror and proceeds to stuff it with every science-fiction cliché he could think of. Then frosts it with some philosophical posturing about humanity and what makes us us. Despite running an hour and forty minutes, it develops almost none of the themes it brings up. It jumps from idea to idea as though Moshe had no idea what to do with the concepts his script tosses out. Which he probably didn’t.

By the time LX 2048 got to its ridiculous ending, I had a massive headache. Realizing that I just wasted over six hundred words on it is giving me another one. Science fiction can tell us a lot about ourselves, but this is just pretentious self-indulgence. Try watching The Wrong Todd or Upstream Color instead.

LX 2048 is available to stream via Quiver Distribution.

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