2067 is a 2020 Australian science fiction film directed and written by Seth Larney from a treatment by Gavin Scott Davis (itself from Larney's own idea), and starring Kodi Smit-McPhee and Ryan Kwanten.
|Directed by||Seth Larney|
|Additional dialogue by|
|Edited by||Sean Lahiff|
|Distributed by||Umbrella Entertainment|
In the year 2067, Earth has been devastated by climate change. With all plant life on Earth extinct, civilization has collapsed around the globe; only one city in Australia has been able to hold out against these catastrophic changes, thanks to synthetic oxygen produced by the Chronicorp corporation. However, this oxygen is tainted and gradually causes a deadly affliction known as The Sickness.
Ethan Whyte, a tunnel worker for the city's power plant, cares for his wife Xanthe, who is afflicted with the Sickness. One day, Ethan is called before Regina Jackson, the Chronicorp CTO, who explains that the Sickness will eventually wipe out humanity. During a test of the Chronicle, a prototype time machine that quantum physicist Richard Whyte (Ethan's late father) had worked on before his death twenty years prior, the scientists received a radio signal from 407 years in the future with a message to specifically send Ethan to them. In hopes of finding a cure for the Sickness and preventing the extinction of humankind, Ethan is asked to be sent into the future. He refuses as he might never be able to return and as he resents his father for abandoning him and his mother, but Xanthe and Ethan's guardian and work colleague Jude manage to change his mind.
After surviving the traumatic time displacement, Ethan finds himself in a lush rainforest, with only a device permanently fitted to his wrist by his father during his childhood and a hand computer named Archie as his only surviving pieces of equipment. Following Archie's instructions, he finds the entrance to a bunker-like structure, and before it, a skeleton wearing his jumpsuit and with a bullet hole in its skull, as well as a decaying Archie and the familiar wrist device. Shocked by the discovery of his apparently inexorable death in the near future, and sick from eating poisonous berries, Ethan is rescued by Jude, who followed him through time after his life readings, transmitted through the Chronicle, were failing. After sharing their findings, they follow Archie's directions to another, still-functional door, which is revealed to lead to the Chronicle lab. It is there that Ethan's wrist device is revealed to be a DNA analyser specifically made to grant him access to the Chronicle, which sets itself for automatic reactivation in four hours.
From a holographic recording left by Richard Whyte, the duo learns that the Chronicle project originally entailed the reactivation of an atmospheric monitoring station which would ascertain the Earth atmosphere's breathability in the future and then transmit the data back to the past. When first activating the machine, Richard was surprised to receive a message to send his own son to the future, so despite his misgivings, he prepared Ethan's wrist analyser. However, an immediate follow-up mission was rendered impossible because safely sending living matter through time required an operational link from both sides and the data showed a power failure in 2474.
The activation of the Chronicle triggers a malfunction in its nuclear power core, threatening to unleash a nuclear explosion before the countdown is completed; this is the power failure that the data had previously indicated. Ethan and Jude make their way to the power core, which is located beneath the overgrown ruins of their home city. Finding the ruins littered with skeletons, including Xanthe's, they conclude that a cure against the Sickness was never found. When Jude attempts some comforting words, Ethan recognises Jude's voice from a recording he found on the decaying Archie computer, taken moments before his future self was killed. Telling Ethan that he's saving Ethan from himself, Jude directs Ethan at gunpoint to the reactor's control room. Unable to activate the emergency override, Ethan allows himself to be locked inside of the depressurising chamber to initiate a manual reboot. He succeeds in rerouting the power, preventing the meltdown and reopening the control room.
With 37 minutes to spare, the duo return to the Chronicle lab, where Ethan finds another exit that opens the entryway next to his skeleton. Ethan suffers a nervous breakdown and implores Jude to kill him, which Jude refuses to do. Jude then confesses that there was no actual hope of ever changing the future; refusing to believe that, Ethan locks Jude in a room and plays back his father's log from the day that Richard died. Ethan learns that his mission was a sham from the beginning: Jackson intended to flee from her dying time into the future with a "chosen few" to start anew, while Richard maintained the hope that the return message must have been sent by somebody, indicating that there is yet hope for more of humankind. In order to prevent its abuse, Richard keyed the time machine to Ethan's DNA, but when Richard's colleague announced that the machine could be rigged to send a person into the future one-way, Jackson killed Richard. Jude was appointed as Ethan's guardian to ensure that Ethan would be sent forward in time to repair the power failure and stabilise the time portal; once Ethan returned to 2067, Jackson would have him killed.
Ethan tries to shut the Chronicle down, but Jude moves to stop him. When Ethan refuses to fight him, Jude, guilt-ridden, commits suicide. Just before Jackson can put her plans in motion, Ethan sends the "Send Ethan Whyte" message into the past along with a copy of Richard's recorded murder on Archie, hundreds of live jungle plants and a farewell gift to Xanthe. He then destroys the Chronicle. This changes the timeline: in the past, Jackson is arrested after Archie transmits the recording to a news station, and the plants are used to revitalise the planet. In the future, Ethan's corpse is gone, and Ethan discovers his formerly ruined city is advanced and populated.
South African-born director Larney grew up in Australia, in an off-grid home near Grafton, New South Wales built by his impressionist painter father. Larney had done some post-production and visual effects work on The Matrix sequels (The Matrix Reloaded) and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, before directing his first feature, the Malaysian action film Tombiruo (2017). 2067 is his first feature film in Australia, which he says is absolutely about hope. He says he had been developing the idea since 2005, when he was 25 years old. Making this film, he was inspired by the films of Stanley Kubrick, Terry Gilliam, Duncan Jones, and Denis Villeneuve. He had previously directed short films The Clearing and Roman’s Ark.
Filming took place in Orange, New South Wales and Adelaide Studios. Production design is by Jacinta Leong and the film is produced by Lisa Shaunessy (Arcadia), Jason Taylor (Futurism Studios) and Kate Croser (Kojo) produced the film.
The film was released in the US on 2 October 2020, screening at 15 cinemas as well as online.
The film's Australian premiere was at the Adelaide Film Festival's opening night on 14 October 2020, where it was shown simultaneously in seven cinemas due to high demand (albeit with spaced seating owing to COVID-19 pandemic social distancing rules).
On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 32% based on reviews from 31 critics, with a weighted average of 4.9/10. On Metacritic the film has a score of 38 out of 100 based on reviews from 8 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com awarded the film two stars and wrote, "Larney fails his own idea by not having a stronger edit on his dialogue and a more confident hand when it comes to directing performance". Dennis Harvey of Variety writes, "You can tell 2067 has some rather lofty aspirations. But its ways of realizing them are too frequently pedestrian, from the banal dialogue to the notion that our savior might ultimately need reassuring that daddy really loved him".
Jake Kleinman of Inverse titles his review "The best time travel movie since Avengers: Endgame", with the byline "Blade Runner meets Walkabout in this bold new cyberpunk thriller with a climate change message", and writes that it delivers a time travel twist on a par with Christopher Nolan's best work.
John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter writes that it "has a couple of interesting ideas up its sleeve but doesn't know how to reveal them". Germain Lussier of Gizmodo calls it a "mixed bag", "impressive from a technical standpoint", with a powerful score by Kirsten Axelholm and Kenneth Lampl, and although it does not live up to its huge ambitions, it is fun to watch and full of interesting ideas and plot twists.
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- Tallerico, Brian (2 October 2020). "2067". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
- Harvey, Dennis (2 October 2020). "'2067' Review: Kodi Smit-McPhee Visits an All-Too-Familiar Dystopian Future". Variety. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
- Kleinman, Jake (5 October 2020). "'2067' review: The best time travel movie since 'Avengers: Endgame'". Inverse. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
- DeFore, John (1 October 2020). "'2067': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
- "Time Travel Film 2067 Can't Match Its Grand Ambitions". Gizmodo. 7 October 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2020.