Foreseeable futures: “2067”

Science fiction, not rated, 114 minutes, Comcast, DirecTV, AppleTV, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, 3 chiles

It almost seems like a rule of thumb: You can’t have a corporate conglomerate in dystopian science fiction tale that isn’t shady. In the case of 2067, that company is Chronicorp, a supplier of the synthetic oxygen that people need to survive in a world that can no longer sustain them. Climate disasters have left the world burned to a crisp, bereft of all plant life, and humanity is on the brink of extinction. Oxygen is at a premium, but the synthetic O2 is making people sick. Those who can afford them go about with oxygen masks; those who can’t afford them succumb to the horrifying effects of deprivation. In this not-too-distant future, human survival comes down to one man. His name is Ethan Whyte (Kodi Smit-McPhee), an essential worker on the lowest rung at Chronicorp, who spends his days in the network of grimy tunnels beneath the city rerouting power grids to keep a steady supply of oxygen flowing.

The plot is set in motion when the head of the company reveals that Whyte’s deceased father, a scientist, was working on a secret project: a time portal through which he sent messages into the future. If a response came back, Chronicorp would know that, somehow, the human race survives. She calls on Whyte because a message did come back: “Send Ethan Whyte.” Reluctantly, Whyte agrees to be the company’s guinea pig and project himself 400 years into the future, where most of writer/director Seth Larney’s Australian production takes place. Whyte seeks to learn the secret to the survival of the human race. Only he discovers a future world of vegetation run amuck and no people. So who could have sent that message?

2067 is a solid entry in the sci-fi genre, but it isn’t perfect. Most of the second half is weighed down by the excessive use of flashbacks in which a little bit of the plot is revealed, then a little more, and so on, until it all makes sense. Why not lay it all out at the start? Answer: because the narrative wouldn’t be half as compelling if we knew the stakes beforehand. And 2067 is compelling. The acting is convincing and emotionally charged. The special effects sequences are dazzling. And despite being driven less by action than by character, it offers plenty of edge-of-your-seat moments.

It’s also a story told with heart, with themes of hope and faith at its core. Loyalties are tested, friendships are strained by dark secrets, and emotions run high. All of this helps 2067 rise above its well-trod sci-fi tropes. 

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