Æon Flux (2005)
Directed by Karyn Kusama

Artistic & Entertainment Value
* *

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In 2415, four hundred years after 99% of the Earth's population died as a result of a plague, the descendents of the survivors live in a walled colony known as Bregna, where they are ruled by Trevor Goodchild (Marton Csokas), the man who found a cure for the ancient disease, and his nefarious brother Oren (Jonny Lee Miller), both of whom have, apparently, become immortal. Although life is peaceful in this flourishing utopia, there are some, who are called Monicans, who, having noticed that their fellow citizens occasionally disappear, are discontented with the status quo. One of these individuals is Æon Flux (Charlize Theron), a beautiful assassin who has been assigned to kill Trevor Goodchild himself.

Karyn Kusama's science fiction adventure, Æon Flux, which is based on Peter Chung's animated television series of the same title, though occasionally inventive, is more frequently so uninspired that it is almost entirely forgettable

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Visually, the movie is regrettably pedestrian. For almost the whole of its duration, Æon Flux looks like it was filmed in some business park, which it very well could have been so far as I know. The characters, who are dressed in costumes that appear to have been left over from a science fiction television show made in the 1980s, wander across well manicured but rather plain lawns, past modern concrete buildings, and through drably, conventionally futuristic rooms. What is more, the eponymous heroine never displays the sexiness that the original animated character had and that gave the television series much of its appeal. Nearly the whole of the film has a tiresome, often pathetically shoddy look to it.


The odd imaginatively conceived touches the director has included, such as a woman whose feet have been replaced with hands, the luminous female leader of the Monicans, from whose mouth a flower blossoms when she gives one of her followers a command, and a sward of grass the blades of which are as sharp as needles, are able to catch the viewer's attention, but the dull, recycled images in which these are imbedded allow that interest to dissipate as quickly as it was aroused.

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Even the movie's rather infrequent action sequences are poorly realized. Perhaps hoping to disguise her actors' actual inability to fight, the director has edited their battles in such a way that it is both difficult to tell what is happening and apparent that the leads are not really doing much of anything. Suffice it to say, none of these routines are especially thrilling.


On top of all its other faults, Æon Flux often seems poorly thought out. The consistently dull narrative includes numerous elements that fail to make complete sense or are utterly arbitrary. The characters' actions are often obviously motivated merely by the needs of the story, and some of the details of the physical world in which these persons live are annoyingly false. At one point, for example, Æon is confined in a jail cell that does not have a toilet. I hope either that she was not kept there for a long time or that the people of the future do not have the same bodily needs as do those living today.

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There really is not much that I can say about Æon Flux that is complimentary. It is a poorly made, uninteresting film.

Review by Keith Allen

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