Aeon Flux

on December 02, 2005 by Paul Clinton
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A futuristic thriller propelled by a vague cloning conspiracy, what "Aeon Flux" really breeds plenty of contempt. It's loosely based on the animated '90s MTV show created by Peter Chung and shares the same aversion to a coherent plot.

Set in 2415 in a world that radiates a cheap Kafka-esque sterility, the movie follows Charlize Theron (appealingly scrubbed from her "North Country" coal mine) as a rebel operative set to assassinate government leader Trevor Goodchild (Marton Csokas). Theron's title character receives her orders from The Handler (Frances McDormand, with a flaming red coif), then sneaks into Goodchild's compound while wearing a sleek bodysuit that makes her look insect-like. She navigates a treacherous garden (which redefines the term "blades of grass") and finds Goodchild, only to rethink her orders when she learns what he's really up to.

Theron, an actress who can anchor a movie to her intensity, makes the best of a script from Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi ("Crazy/Beautiful") that inches forward with its clipped, vacuous dialogue. Theron has said she underwent a rigorous training regimen so she could attempt the stunts, a dedication rarely given full due by the rapid editing.

Supporting actors Sophie Okonedo ("Hotel Rwanda") as Aeon's four-handed accomplice Sithandra and Pete Poslethwaite as The Keeper, make brief appearances.

"Gattaca" perhaps came closest to nailing the cloning thriller -- an achievement "Aeon Flux" doesn't come close to replicating. Starring Charlize Theron, Marton Csokas and Jonny Lee Miller. Directed by Karyn Kusama. Written Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. Produced by David Gale, Gregory Goodman, Gale Anne Hurd and Gary Lucchesi. A Paramount release. Sci-Fi/Action. Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and sexual content. Running time: 93 min

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