Aeon Flux Movie Review

Music video director Anton Corbijn's video clip for industrial dance band Front 242's "Headhunter" featured a topless woman in a surreal black outfit holding a giant egg and wandering around a desolate industrial park. It's a music video that is absurdly artificial and at the same time engagingly artful.

Aeon Flux, Girlfight director Karyn Kusama's second film, is like a 95-minute remake of that video. It's visually sumptuous for no other reason than to indulge arty gluttons. And that's fine by me. I dig it, arty glutton that I am. Based on the animated short films of Peter Chung, the movie succeeds in translating Chung's fluid and sparse design. While it would be impossible to have an actress bend and slide like the heroine in the original MTV animated series, Charlize Theron is suitably acrobatic and looks great in spandex and black leather. The costumes are futuristic and the landscapes, mostly CGI, are eerily organic takes on mid-century design.

That's where Aeon Flux succeeds. Where it fails is where you would expect (and is most likely the reason why the film was not screened for critics): The script is dull, the acting monotone, and the direction pedestrian at points.

The film takes place 400 years in the future. Mankind has been relegated to a single Syd Mead-ian city where the last 5 million people on the planet live. They've segregated themselves off from the rest of the world due to a pandemic, and the deadly virus supposedly still lurks in the fronds and furry beasts that inhabit the jungles surrounding this high tech Alamo. Ah, but all is not well in this city. The dynasty of Goodchild (Marton Csoks) lords over the city, and anyone that disagrees with what the dynasty dictates, disappears. As with all good stories of this sort, there is a rebellious faction at work, eager to overthrow the Goodchilds. Called the Monicans, for no good reason, they are all black leather clad assassins (one has hands instead of feet) who do not emote and rarely have fun. The best and brightest of these rebels is Aeon Flux (Theron).

The plot of Aeon Flux is suitably circuitous, but suffice it to say that when Aeon is sent to assassinate Trevor Goodchild, she can't. A few decent twists and a few mediocre turns later and Aeon Flux quickly moves into Matrix territory. That is to say: Everything you know is wrong. That's fitting. We live in a time when people doubt, with sincerity, the role of their government and the honesty of their leaders, and Aeon Flux is yet another film mining that conspiratorial vigor. The script, however, is ham-fisted, the dialogue atrocious and meaningless. Screenwriters Phil May and Matt Manfredi know how to pace a film and think up interesting action sequences, but it's as though they've never actually spoken to human beings.

What is most striking about the film is its style. Director Kusama lets loose with bizarre images and imaginatively realized sequences, such as a jaunt through a deadly garden, that give the picture an otherworldly quality that is missing from most sci-fi fare. What I dig most about Aeon Flux is its charmingly retro ('80s) sensibility, unabashedly New Wave in form and function. For the record, this is what Logan's Run was supposed to look like.

Aeon Flux does begin clumsily. Kusama swipes too many Matrix riffs and too many music video cues to give it the edge that it needs. But she clearly knows what she likes, and when the film finally settles into its paces (during the last 40 minutes or so) Kusama really engages the material and the results are both gorgeously surreal and vacuously arty.

The DVD includestwo commentary tracks (inluding one with Theron) and five making-of featurettes.

Aka Æon Flux.

Drop and give me 1,000.


Aeon Flux Rating

" OK "

Rating: PG-13, 2005


More Charlize Theron

'Mad Max' Director George Miller "Heartbroken" over Mel Gibson's Plight

George Miller, director of Mad Max: Fury Road, says he is "heartbroken" over the personal plight of Mel Gibson - the star of the original...

New 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Teaser Trailer Hits The Web. It's Insane. [Trailer]

While Mad Max has never been a docile franchise, we were still surprised at just how ridiculous the “Western on wheels” – as creator George...

Mad Max Trailer

Max Rockatansky is a formidable traveller of the Australian outback, still fighting against the dystopian setting whereby population is low and resources are few. He...

A Week In Movies: Guardians Holds Two Premieres, Plus First Glimpses Of Fifty Shades, The Imitation Game And Mad Max: Fury Road

In the wake of especially strong buzz from critics who have seen the film, the cast of assembled for their world premiere in Los...


'Mad Max: Fury Road' - New Stills and Poster Appear From Comic Con [Pictures]

Max Max: Fury Road was one of the most anticipated films at the San Diego Comic Con this weekend, and in line with the film’s...

Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron Put the 'Fury' in 'Mad Max: Fury Road'

On July 25th, "Entertainment Weekly" released the first images for their July 4th issue featuring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron clad in dystopian military garb....

Gwyneth Paltrow Finds Googling Herself ‘Like War’ While Charlize Theron Likens It To ‘Rape’: Backlash Grows Over Actresses Insensitive Comments

While speaking to tech site Re/Code on Tuesday (25th), Gwyneth Paltrow chose to liken reading negative comments about herself online to war. Then, days later,...

Did Charlize Theron Cross The Line When Comparing Intrusive Press To Rape?

Charlize Theron may have gone too far with her most recent derogatory comments.The 38 year-old actress is feeling the backlash of making a very inappropriate...