The end of the world has become quite the hot topic in recent years. From global warming to natural disasters, even to catastrophes on a biblical scale, the movie industry loves to imagine just how the world is going to end. However, the aftermath of the end of the world is an idea that is not quite as well explored. Netflix’s newest movie, IO, explores just what happens when the human race treats the world like a piece of rubbish, and whether or not we can salvage any part of it.
IO follows Sam (Margaret Qualley), who lives in a compound in a ‘clean O2’ zone. She is trying to prove that we can adapt to living on earth in these horrendous conditions, based on research started by her father. After a storm ruins her life’s work, a mysterious man appears at the compound in a hot air balloon, asking to see her father.
As interesting as that plot sounds…it’s not. For the entire hour and 36 minute running time, basically nothing happens. There’s no drama, no excitement in the plot. It’s all very slow-paced, with little to provide an alternative to the hum-drum state of affair except the inclement weather and some bees.
It’s not often that a movie gets away with being that boring. It’s obvious that the director saw some potential in the script – that’s because there is definitely some there. It’s possible that it could have been padded out a bit – have a bit of meat put on it’s bones. Instead, it was left as is, and is anti-climactic and a little dreary.
That’s not to say that the casting wasn’t good. Sam is the epitome of the weird, conversation deprived protagonist, who hasn’t spoken to a real person in a very long time. She’s quiet, she’s calculating and she’s slightly unsettling. Her scenes alone, where she has no one to talk to, are really well acted. It’s her scenes where she has to interact with another person that she stumbles.
Micah (Anthony Mackie) is also good on his own. He’s the tough guy: battered by the storm they call life, he’s just trying to survive on a planet that doesn’t want him there. However, put him with Sam, and the whole thing falls apart.
It wouldn’t have been so bad if the movie didn’t try and force the two together. If the pair had just stayed friends, if they’d just been left alone. But, alas, no. Instead, some painfully awful dialogue, almost as though it had been pulled directly from the script of Twilight, is needlessly inserted. It’s out of place and it’s noticeable.
Not only this, but both Sam and Micah have zero chemistry whatsoever. They’re both robotic and tense in their love scenes, and the build up to the climax, as it were, is non-existent. Instead, Sam gets into the shower and just decides, there and then, that Micah is the one for her. One weird and unwilling sex scene later, and the love story is firmly implanted into the narrative.
Aside from the unnecessary love scene and the slow pace, this movie isn’t too bad. However, it is too pretentious to be taken seriously. The random mythology inserted into the, frankly, quite dubious science of this film just makes it seem too clever for it’s own good. In other words, the film thinks it is clever when, in fact, it isn’t at all.
Usually, scientific inaccuracy isn’t that big of a deal. However, when it’s what your entire movie is based on, it would be nice to think that the writers had actually researched what they were writing. The inaccuracies just make the movie even less believable, and in the end, it detracts from the feeling the movie was trying to set in the first place. Instead of a serious and scary movie about climate change, it’s a wispy-washy, unrealistic rom-com that’s trying to be a bit too clever.
IO is a mediocre science fiction movie with an unnecessary romance storyline and a some really incorrect scientific statements. It’s not the best thing on Netflix, so it’s probably worth having a look around before you agree to that movie. Fingers crossed the end of the world won’t actually be that boring.