Dystopian stories from Brave New World to The Handmaid’s Tale share a hero/rebel who breaks out of the confines of an ultra-controlled society which doesn’t treat them as human. And so it is with LX 2048. It’s 28 years hence and the ozone is so depleted that no one goes outside in daytime for fear of being fried. They live by night. The socially-distanced population works from home virtually. Meeting face-to-face is rare and enjoyment is found in avatars channelled through VR headsets. It’s just like lockdown. When it all becomes too much you just pop a mood-stabilising lithium capsule and all’s right with the world. Only it’s not.
Adam Bird (James D’Arcy) works in tech and sees microchips taking over from VR and if he doesn’t pull his company around his estranged family will be destitute. Worse still he’s not been taking his lithium (the LX of the title). But he has a plan. A government insurance plan. When you die you can be cloned and live on. Adam’s ballbreaker wife (Anna Brewster) won’t let him see his kids and has booted him out the house. He is reduced to getting his rocks off with his headset and a sexbot. The exposition! Meantime Donald Stein (Delroy Lindo), the father of human cloning, comes to visit. Maybe he can sort things out.
As the frayed ozone plot point evaporates as we descend into Fathers for Justice/incel wish fulfilment. When things go all existential and Hamlet-y director/writer Moshe is in danger of losing the plot altogether.
The second half of the movie takes place in Adam’s gloomy bachelor pad with assorted characters endlessly talking at each other. Gloomy is the word. It’s a shame because the movie is full of good ideas, they’re just not well realised. When Adam meets is own clone (genetically-modified by his wife in a clause in the insurance policy) it’s just one of several promising twists that never fulfil their promise. The film is great to look at thanks largely to the cinematography of Thomas Buelens and the TRON-like neon monorail is funky.
Available On-demand from Fri 25 Sep 2020