Some 400 years in the future, disease has wiped out the majority of the earth's population except for one walled, protected city-state, Bregna, ruled by a council of scientists. Behind the benign façade, there is unrest as many feel freedom has been sacrificed for convenience. People disappear. Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron), is the top operative in the underground Monican rebellion, led by the Handler (Frances McDormand). When Aeon is sent on a mission to kill the council chairman (Marton Csokas), she uncovers a world of explosive secrets about the way Bregan has been populated, which makes her question everything she thought she knew.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
For those, like me, unfamiliar with the animated series from which this film is forged, it is not a big jump of imagination to fantasise how it might work on a certain level. As live action sci-fi drama, though, the weaknesses of its origins hold it back. But there is no holding back the creative team, who have designed the film and its elements to be an eyeful of futuristic costumes, gizmos, weapons and even superhuman powers. Some of the costumes (hers) are sexy - while others (like Pete Postlethwaite's) are ridiculous.
The film opens with an eye-catching scene as a fly tries to burrow through Charlize Theron's eyelashes. The irritation lasts longer for us than her, though, as the excellent talents in front of and behind the camera fail to engage us beyond the most superficial level. Theron has little to work with by way of character, so she relies on the action heroine tricks, which just don't work to great satisfaction. Marton Csokas, however, probes into the screenplay and manages to find something of interest through minimalist performance and stillness.
The face to face fight sequences are botched with extreme close ups and sleight of hand editing, while the larger stunts are ho hum. Sometimes the film looks a little silly (including scenes with the mystical, hair challenged Frances Dormand as Handler), and the high hopes we had of talented director Karyn Kusama of Girlfight fame, are not realised. The end result is a film that verges on boring, despite its core concept about what happens to this bad world when industrial poisons destroy most of it.
By coincidence, Aeon Flux opens weeks after North Country in Australian cinemas, in which both Theron and McDormand get a much better opportunity to shine.
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AEON FLUX (M)
CAST: Charlize Theron, Marton Csokas, Jonny Lee Miller, Sophie Okonedo, Amelia Warner, Caroline Chikezie, Frances McDormand, Pete Postlethwaite
PRODUCER: David Gale, Gregory Goodman, Gale Anne Hurd, Gary Lucchesi
DIRECTOR: Karyn Kusama
SCRIPT: Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi (characters Peter Chung)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Stuart Dryburgh
EDITOR: Peter Honess, Plummy Tucker
MUSIC: Graeme Revell
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Andrew McAlpine
RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 16, 2006
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount
VIDEO RELEASE: June 8, 2006