Matthew Lickona 2:45 p.m., Dec. 10
Ungadgety specimen of science fiction, set in a not too distant future, with primary locations in the Far East and the Middle East, when a global Big Brother keeps a close and censorious eye on human coupling and breeding. While neither very original nor skillful as storytelling, the vision of the future is well textured on a small budget: a sun more to be shunned than worshipped; a population divided into geographic insiders and outcasts; an English language liberally salted and peppered with French and Spanish; elective viruses for the inculcation of anything from mind-reading empathy to Mandarin Chinese; surgical memory erasure reminiscent of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The film comes up shortest where more budget would have been least helpful: the writing of the illicit love affair, a garbled futurization of the Oedipus myth, at the heart of the film. Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton lack either the charisma or the chemistry to plaster over any cracks. Directed by Michael Winterbottom. 2004.
— Duncan Shepherd
- Rated R