My rating: ***
This live action film starring Charlize Theron and New Zealand actor Marton Csokas, bears no resemblance to the MTV anime series from which it is derived, apart from the names of the characters and places and its science fiction setting. The costumes and sets are beautiful to look at but the film is really of not much general interest beyond that. What made it for me, however, is the way the love story between the two main characters Aeon Flux and Trevor Goodchild is handled. Goodchild allows Aeon to take the initiative and reverses the usual power balance of romantic relationships by not taking on the usual male role. He is soft and yielding rather than domineering in the relationship – even if in the public social sphere he occupies a position as one of the city’s leaders. Csokas mentions in an interview that this was a deliberate acting choice on his part – and he plays it in a satisfyingly subtle manner. It really works and highlights by its difference from the norm just how used we are to seeing entrenched gender roles and hierarchies playing out in romantic relationships.
Incidentally Csokas also plays one of the main roles in a wonderful but extremely bleak 2007 Australian film Romulus my father (2007) which I will write about later.