As we all know, our planet is dying. Earth is suffering because of the choices humans have made and continue to make. So what happens when the damage cannot be undone? When the planet’s environment has completely depleted to the point where it’s dangerous to be outside at all, how will human life go on? Guy Moshe attempts to explore this topic in his latest film LX 2048.
In LX 2048, the human race has pretty much transitioned into a nocturnal existence to avoid facing the sun’s harmful rays, from which they have no protection because their atmosphere has been destroyed. People have also started relying heavily on virtual reality, interacting with their friends, coworkers, and family members in the digital realm. There are robots and biologically advanced clones and a pill that everyone takes to manage their depression (LithiumX). But there’s still disease and infidelity and familial strife.
The action in LX 2048 centers around protagonist Adam Bird’s (played by James D’Arcy) struggles with his career, his marriage, and the fact that he is terminally ill with cancer. He and his wife, Reena (played by Anna Brewster), are given the opportunity to essentially make a digital copy of Adam’s brain and custom-make a clone of him so that his inevitable death won’t be too much of a hardship on Reena (on whom he is cheating with a completely virtual woman he designed himself) and their three young sons. Adam is faced with this choice on top of the existential angst he’s already experiencing. Adam has problems, to say the least.
The main problem, though, with the film’s protagonist, is that he is so insufferably pompous and narcissistic that it’s an exercise in futility to care even a little bit about him. Adam spends the film reveling in his deviations from what is now the norm: he insists on working in an office during the daytime, he openly and gleefully disparages AI and robots, and he refuses to take LithiumX and scoffs at the idea of mental health professionals in general. He designs a virtual woman, Maria (played by Gabrielle Cassi), to fawn over him while maintaining a fantasy that she has free will and loves him of her own volition when Reena doesn’t give him the unconditional validation and admiration he so desperately craves. Because of how the character is written, Adam fails as a protagonist; he can’t even be described as an antihero because, despite his hubris, he is simply not interesting enough to pay attention to.
The other players aren’t much better. The female characters in particular in LX 2048 are dull and seem to only exist to serve Adam in one way or another, even in their eventual betrayals. This doesn’t seem like a deliberate choice; it seems like lazy writing. Maybe even sexism on the part of the screenwriter, Guy Moshe. After all, there is a scene between Adam and a police officer in which both men use the word “cunt” multiple times in reference to Reena (immediately after Adam calls Reena a cunt to her face). This dialogue honestly felt like Moshe only wanted to call a woman a cunt as many times as he could and write it off as “art.” There is a scene with Maria that is mildly interesting, but it’s not enough to save the film.
Beyond the cardboard cutout cast of characters, the action in this film drags due to pacing and drawn-out sequences, including a bizarre rendition of the famous “to be or not to be” soliloquy from Hamlet performed by Adam and his clone. Yes, you read that correctly. The runtime is just under an hour and forty-five minutes, but it feels a lot longer. The film features many classic science-fiction tropes (destroyed planet, reliance on digital technology, AI, VR, widespread medication use, etc), and this may actually be one of the problems: there’s just too much packed into such a short amount of time, and it’s not written well enough to be successful.
LX 2048 is now available to rent or own on Amazon, iTunes, Comcast, Spectrum, Dish, DirecTV, Vudu, and more in the US and Canada.