Main cast: Charlize Theron (Æon Flux), Marton Csokas (Trevor Goodchild), Jonny Lee Miller (Oren Goodchild), Sophie Okonedo (Sithandra), Pete Postlethwaite (Keeper), Amelia Warner (Una Flux), Caroline Chikezie (Freya), Paterson Joseph (Giroux), and Frances McDormand (Handler)
Director: Karyn Kusama
Perhaps there is a reason why I never had a chance to watch this movie until recently: Æon Flux is pretty dire. The whole movie feels like it had some key scenes butchered out, as the end result is a bewildering, incoherent mess.
I have not watched the show this movie is based off, so from what I can tell, this movie is set in a future when all humanity would have been lost were not for the efforts of a team of scientists that led the last humans to settle down in a city called Bregna, Walled off from the rest of a virus-ravaged world, these people live, and prosper… or so it seems. A few people go missing now and then, and the authorities don’t seem to care. People also experience strange dreams and memories, and sometimes it is hard to tell what is real and what isn’t. As a result, there are folks that begin to view life in Bregna as a gilded cage, and these people, called the Monicans, want to topple the current regime and build something better.
Our heroine Æon Flux is the most powerful of the Monicans, which is why her name is so unique and everyone else’s isn’t. What seems like a routine mission puts her face to face with the de facto leader of the ruling council, Trevor Goodchild, and what do you know, they have some kind of past connection. Clearly, nothing is what it seems here in Bregna! Oh, and her sister gets killed and she wants vengeance.
While the plot may sound good on paper, the movie itself… yikes. It’s basically a montage of slow-motion fight scenes that seem to take place randomly or out of context, interspersed with scenes of people brooding and scowling amidst backdrops and props designed to look cool without making much sense. It is only much later in the movie that I have an inkling of what is happening, and that’s because everyone starts dropping exposition bombs on our heroine.
The overall impression I get is that the people behind this movie don’t know what to do with the source material, so they decided to act like they were filming arty music videos or something. Mind you, this kind of thing can still work if there were other things to compensate, such as wildly melodramatic passions or over the top action scenes, but this movie has neither. Jonny Lee Miller nearly provides some much-needed camp here with his brand of teeth-gnashing school of villainy acting, but Martin Csokas and Charlize Theron just spend the whole film looking so morose, like they are seriously regretting being in this movie and they spend every night in their trailer drinking their sorrows away. Also, the fight scenes… yikes. They look like they had been choreographed by amateurs that took all their knowledge from binge-watching those The Matrix movies.
Æon Flux is quite the tragic film when the props and the backdrop end up being the best things about it. Oh, and Mr Csokas is easy on the eyes, so that doesn’t hurt. As an action movie, though, this one is slow and draggy with no coherent story or decent action to keep one awake, and as an artistic movie, it’s way too amateurishly cobbled together. Scenes clumsily lurch from one to another, the characters are too flat and lifeless for me to care, and the whole plot is some tired man-destroying-nature premise that has been done way too many times already and, in the context of this movie, so much better too.