Written and Directed by Seth Larney.
Starring Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ryan Kwanten, Leeanna Walsman, Deborah Mailman, Matt Testro, Damian Walshe-Howling, Aaron Glenane, Sana’a Shaik, and Finn Little.
One man’s journey to the future to save a dying world.
It’s one thing to go on a journey attempting to find a cure for a loved one, but it’s another thing entirely when that adventure involves time travel into the future and being confronted with evidence that despite the promise of returning home with a solution, the mission was a failure. Of the many resplendent sights found within visual effects artist turned director Seth Larney’s (this is his second narrative feature), 2067, this is one of the more haunting realizations and the scene my mind races back to whenever I internally debate whether I would recommend the sci-fi mind-bender or not.
Kodi Smit-McPhee is Ethan Whyte, an underground worker living in the titular future that has been ravaged by climate change, deforestation, and just about every other way human beings continuously fuck up planet Earth. Such abuse on mother nature has rendered oxygen nonexistent, meaning that society now uses artificial oxygen to get by, but mostly just walk around wearing masks. Some have been able to adapt to such a dramatic change, while others such as Ethan’s wife Xanthe (Sana’a Shaik) are slowly dying from not having the real thing as if she is suffering from a terminal illness.
Committed to being a working man and provider carrying out underground construction jobs with longtime friend Jude (Ryan Kwanten), Ethan is only concerned with doing right by Xanthe in her time of need. She’s not so much a character as she is motivation for Ethan, but that also points to a larger problem within 2067 as a whole; it’s more interested in world-building and pushing the general plot forward rather than getting us emotionally invested into these characters. Nevertheless, Ethan vows to never leave Xanthe’s side.
That is until some scientists led by Regina (Deborah Mailman) inexplicably receive a transmission from the time machine they are building that explicitly says “send Ethan Whyte”. The plan is to go into the future where Earth has re-corrected itself and become naturally inhabitable again, with the intention of bringing back a way to heal the current world. Initially, Ethan is hesitant to go and leave behind Xanthe, but also because he has his own baggage stemming from his father that did something similar to his mom and never came back to the family.
Naturally, Ethan is convinced to take the leap of faith as there is potentially a chance at saving the world alongside the one he loves. Visually, 2067 is stunning (especially given that this is a low-budget special-effects heavy film from RLJE) taking us from a steampunk future and then 400 years farther where nature has reclaimed the planet with eye-popping beauty. The locations here are truly outstanding, whether it’s your standard futuristic depictions of machinery and holograms or Ethan stumbling around a forest trying to uncover his greater purpose in this save-the-world narrative.
Where Seth Larney somewhat fumbles is with the revelations of what’s really going on. Upon successfully traveling 400 years into the future Ethan immediately discovers that real oxygen has returned, but disturbingly finds his own deceased body alongside a cryptic final audio log from himself. There’s a lot of dots to connect here between Ethan, his family, his friends, the scientists, and the time-traveling device at the center of this time loop. Disappointingly, most of the big twists can be seen coming from lightyears away, but there is some admiration in that Larney is able to effectively utilize these tropes. It also helps that Kodi Smit-McPhee gives a winningly determined performance, resilient to give up, and always pushing forward putting the pieces together. Even if the story is basic sci-fi stuff, 2067 is certainly always pleasant to look at and zips along with urgency and brainy thrills.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, friend me on Facebook, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, check out my personal non-Flickering Myth affiliated Patreon, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com