[Nightmarish Detour Review] 2067

[Nightmarish Detour Review] 2067
Courtesy of RLJE Films
One young man as humanity’s last hope in the face of extinction. A misunderstood and absent father. Corporations that care more about power and profit than making the world a better place for all people. Changing the future in order to save the present. New sci-fi mystery/thriller 2067 doesn’t offer much that viewers haven’t seen before, but unfortunately for humanity, its exploration of the dangers of climate change and corporate greed are just as relevant today as they were in the myriad films of the past that tried to warn people about those very same threats.

The year is, of course, 2067. Earth is nearly uninhabitable. Due to unchecked climate change, plant life is totally extinct and humans subsist on synthetic oxygen produced by megacorporation Chronicorp (complete with the dystopian slogan “Breathe Easy”). “The Sickness,” a rejection of the artificial oxygen that causes people to suffocate slowly and painfully, is ravaging the remaining population. Ethan Whyte (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is an underground worker for Chronicorp, performing dangerous utility work to try to keep the lights on in the last city on Earth that has power.

One day Chronicorp’s CTO Regina Jackson (Deborah Mailman) summons Ethan and his partner Jude Mathers (Ryan Kwanten) to her office for an urgent mission. Chronicorp has been working on building a time machine to try to go into the future to find a cure for the Earth’s ills and bring it back to 2067 to save the world. When they send a message into the future for assistance, a single response comes through: “SEND ETHAN WHYTE.” After his wife Xanthe (Sana’a Shaik), who suffers from The Sickness, convinces him to take the dangerous journey into the future, Ethan finds himself in the middle of a lush green forest in the year 2474. He must figure out how to find the cure and send it back to his own time before it’s too late for humanity.

Like a lot of movies about time travel, 2067 works best when you don’t think too hard about the plot. The story hits familiar beats and offers few surprises. It is occasionally overwrought and melodramatic, but there’s an underlying earnestness and optimism that feels (pardon the pun) like a breath of fresh air in a year as unrelentingly grim as 2020. The film features some truly lovely shots and effects, especially a heartbreakingly hopeful vision of a potential green future.

2067 tries to be a lot of things: a time travel mystery, a sci-fi thriller, an indictment of greedy corporations and their selfish destruction of the planet, and a wake-up call to viewers about the imminent threat of irreversible climate change. It doesn’t really bring any new ideas to the table, but that may be the point: the fact that we’re still having to have this conversation in 2020 is an emergency in and of itself. 2067 may not innovate in the field of ecological dystopian films, but its subject matter feels, sadly, evergreen.

2067 will be released in theaters, On-Demand, and Digital on October 2, 2020, from RLJE Films.

Jessica Scott
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