Brutal sci-fi movie Zone 414 takes inspiration from Blade Runner

If miming is flattery, then Ridley Scott and Denis Villeneuve should be honored for Zone 414, an independent science fiction film that takes a lot of Bounty hunter and Blade Runner 2049 It’s surprising that director Andrew Baird and screenwriter Bryan Edward Hill avoided legal action. The Blade Runner films have cast an impenetrable shadow over science fiction, and it would be foolish to deny their visual and narrative impact. But the ways Zone 414 It rises from its predecessors, borrowing elements from character development to wardrobe and questions about the utilitarianism of our physical bodies, denies its own identifiable or entertaining qualities.

The only truly unique element of Zone 414Aside from the strangeness of Sleepwalking Guy Pearce through a Mark Wahlberg print, it’s an ugly flirtation with misogyny that should make anyone who accused Blade Runner 2049 of hating women realize, “Nope, this is what dehumanizes women Really It seems. “Putting female nudity on screen is not inherently sexist, and women can die in movies without being sexualized. But Zone 414 he manages to do both the wrong way. Baird goes back and forth between the film’s main plot and the first-person shots of a woman’s abuse that looks like something out of a snuff movie. It includes an unnecessary scene with topless women, to unnecessarily reiterate the established plot point that the synthetic humans in the story are primarily used as sex slaves. And he and Baird only indicate that the characters are villains by making them abuse women.

Apparently, there are no other crimes in this reality other than those directed at women and, nevertheless, Zone 414 it says nothing significant about the ethical and physical transgressions committed against them. Men hate women Zone 414 announces as if it were a revelation. But recognizing a demoralizing reality in the most didactic way possible does not Zone 414 a “unique, beautiful, technological snowflake” as one of the characters in the film describes a synthetic sex slave. Makes the movie boring.

Guy Pearce scowls from a multi-colored booth in Zone 414

Photo: Saban Films

The film follows David Carmichael (Pearce), a failed detective turned private investigator who somehow has such a Boston accent. and a New York accent. David takes his teasing, disgruntled demeanor, and memories of his dead cop partner and dead wife (because what else would the domestic life of a sad detective include?) To London, where he enters a cell with a woman, ignoring his plea for his life. and puts a bullet in his forehead. It’s a jarring and baffling introduction that quickly delves into genre territory as David removes the woman’s scalp and reaches into her skull to retrieve a mysterious mechanical core.

Nothing external about this woman initially revealed her engineering status; physically, she was indistinguishable from a biological human. But David followed up with the murder as an unanswered part of a job interview with the wealthy Joseph Veidt (Jonathan Aris). Is it still murder if the person killed is synthetic? Zone 414 He plays on this question throughout the movie, but initially, David isn’t concerned. “I know what’s alive and what’s not,” David says, and that’s enough to convince Joseph to hire him.

The work seems simple. Joseph’s brother, genius inventor and eccentric recluse Marlon (Travis Fimmel, jarringly unrecognizable under layers of orange bronzer and a stringy wig, and looking for a “Marlon Brando in The island of Dr. Moreau”Vibe), made his fortune designing synthetics, which he made specifically as toys for the rich and elite. The synthetics live in the closed city Zone 414, the only place where it is legal for humans to interact with them.

Marlon’s daughter Melissa (Holly Demaine), who detested her father’s legacy, often fled to Zone 414 and was abducted. Someone is sending Marlon videos of his daughter tied up, injured and terrified, and David needs to find her while keeping the incident quiet. If the people in power think the synthetics in Zone 414 are out of control, they’ll shut it down, and there goes Marlon’s fortune. “My Eden is fragile,” Marlon warns David. To help, Marlon tells David where to find Melissa’s only friend, a synthetic named Jane (Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, doing her best with a narrow script).

When David finally makes his way to Jane’s apartment in Zone 414, he learns that she is suicidal and is being harassed. She and covers her concern for Melissa with resignation towards her alien status: “I am the metal girl who wanted to be real, and she is the human girl who wants to be a machine. It’s nice and cheesy. “Through some programming glitch, Jane might be able to Really feel the emotions you’re just supposed to to think that you are feeling, which manifests itself mainly in self-harm and suicidal ideation. That complicates David’s feelings for her, forcing him to reconsider his initial rejection of synthetics as “not human enough” to deserve her empathy or help.

Two men stand on the wrapped body of a woman at a table in Zone 414

Photo: Saban Films

A number of other characters show up to threaten and abuse the film’s synthetic women, because apparently that’s the only way Baird and Hill can imagine raising themselves. Zone 414What is at stake. A man growls at a synthetic to repeat “I love you” over and over. Another leaves threatening voicemails for Jane that describe his fantasies of killing her. Still other she brags about the synthetic that he sadistically treats like a toy, and her scars reveal the engineering under her skin that keeps her alive for this torture.

If Baird and Hill bothered to spend as much time developing the female characters in their film as they did portraying their victimization, that might have been tolerable. (At least Blade Runner 2049 shaped Sean Young’s digital Rachel, Sylvia Hoeks’s Luv, Robin Wright’s Lieutenant Joshi, and Ana de Armas’s Joi, whose costumes are copied directly here for Jane, into full characters before sending them to their deaths.) such luck for Melissa. or Jane, for whom Zone 414 it demands immediate and unwavering sympathy, even when all we know about them is that they have been inserted into one dangerous and degrading situation after another.

It all feels like a covert drinking game for Bounty hunter References: Zone 414 neon billboards, Asian food stalls, and ever-present rain. Naked synthetic bodies under plastic sheets. Marlon is unhinged ranting about being “the god of power” due to his ability to create life. A potential love story between a tired gumshoe who denies his emotions and a cyborg who wants to be a real woman. Look Zone 414 at your own risk, both in terms of alcohol consumption and in terms of the mental exhaustion of crawling through this tedious and undervalued garbage.

Zone 414 It opens in limited theaters and on digital rental services on September 3.

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