by George Wolf
Well, you’ll save money on sunscreen.
Because in the near future world of LX 2048, the only way you can venture out in the daylight is by going full hazmat. In fact, the sun has become so lethal that clone technology is needed to meet the demand for augmented dayworkers.
Once the clones arrive, the unintended consequences are sure to follow. And Adam Bird is getting an up close look at some of them.
Things are not going well for Adam (James D’Arcy). His tech company is on shaky ground, and he hasn’t been taking his LX “mood stabilizers” which could help with the really bad news: his heart is failing and he doesn’t have long to live. Though his relationship with wife Reena (Anna Brewster) and the kids was already on the rocks, Adam is worried about securing their future.
Then, through frequent flashbacks, writer/director/producer/editor Guy Moshe fills in the backstory. Though virtual reality has taken over by 2048, “the chip” is the next big thing. There’s been a massive decline in population. And the Premium 3 insurance plan allows you to “tailor” your spousal replacement clone in the event of death.
What luck for Reena! The Birds are Premium 3 plan holders.
Moshe’s overly cheesy opening credits lower the expectations of what’s to come, but there are engaging visuals and some solid sci-fi ideas here, albeit ones fighting to overcome stilted dialog and tonal swings.
Adam’s conversations with unseen VR avatars are overly explanatory only for our benefit, sometimes bringing a wince-worthy phoniness to D’Arcy’s performance. And yet, when Moshe suddenly introduces moments of absurdist humor, you wonder if either tract was intended.
Delroy Lindo’s cameo as cloning tech legend Donald Stein instantly raises the stakes. Lindo’s natural gravitas make Stein’s musings about what it means to be human and the wages of playing God land a tick higher on the scale of standard sci-fi existential crises.
This is a film that often feels adrift and in need of an anchor. It’s neither as smart as it wants to be, nor as dumb as you fear early on. Much like its main character, LX 2048 has heart, but you’re never sure how long it can hold out.