Aeon Flux

Aeon Flux


Reviewed by: Chris

Did you ever wish lycra-clad, kick-boxing heroines could be a little more lifelike? How about a storyline where you lost the one you love with the hope of finding them 400 years (and many incarnations) in the future? Aeon Flux is a healthy dose of sci-fi fantasy for those who enjoy such things, distinct from Lara Croft or Matrix-type heroines (though you could also say derived from them if you are cynically non-futurist in your film tastes).

The multi-faceted Charlize Theron extends her athletic and balletic skills to perform her own stunts in this beautifully realised (if fairly simplistic) tale of underground fighters (The Monicans), who are seeking to overthrow a dictatorship that is not always as benevolent as it would seem.

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After a deadly virus has struck down 99 per cent of the world's population, the surviving humans have been secretly cloned for many generations and exist in a seemingly perfect society. But people go missing. Monican Theron is given the mission to assassinate the leader but, as she penetrates the inner sanctums, she also penetrates plot layers, revealing it to be far from a straightforward battle.

What makes Theron stand out is that she is very much all woman. Previous female superheroes have been masculine or androgynous cyphers played by a female leads in manga-like, sexless action sequences that reduce them almost to mindless puppets.

Our heroine in Aeon Flux, in between high-tech fighting scenes, is unafraid to show subtle shades of emotion (one of the main plotlines depends on her interpreting her own feelings) or her passionate sexuality. (Those of you who recall the insipid 'sex' of the Matrix Trilogy must have wondered if future societies also demand all hormones be removed before any snogging occurs.)

Neither are the eye-popping year 2415 technologies cine-standardised - they show a sensuous imagination: from the flowing futurescapes of Bregna city, ingestible telepathic liquids, subcutaneous communicators and biological gardens of defence weaponry flowers, Aeon Flux has a lushness that draws you in.

It's a pleasant change to have a sci-fi movie directed by a woman, with a woman's touch. Karyn Kusama has brought feminine insight to what is all too frequently seen as a male genre and, as she did with Girlfight, imbued it with freshness and realism. Although the studio has emphasised its comic-strip provenance, this was probably ill-advised as comparisons fare poorly and the movie should be enjoyed as entertainment in its own right. You will probably know from the brief descriptions whether this is the sort of film for you - while Aeon Flux will hardly win over any new adherents, it is a joy for cult fans that will withstand repeated viewing.

Reviewed on: 01 Mar 2006
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Futuristic sci-fi post-animated superagent is acrobatic in her desire to save paradise from reactionary forces.
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Read more Aeon Flux reviews:

Stephen McMorland ***1/2
Anton Bitel **1/2

Director: Karyn Kusama

Writer: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi, based upon characters created by Peter Chung

Starring: Charlize Theron, Marton Csokas, Jonny Lee Miller, Sophie Okonedo, Frances McDormand, Pete Postlethwaite, Amelia Warner, Caroline Chikezie, Nikolai Kinski

Year: 2005

Runtime: 93 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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