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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 10.01.09] Mexico movie review scifi dystopic

Year: 2009
Directors: Francisco Laresgoiti
Writers: Jordi Mariscal
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 7.5 out of 10

"My main goal is to open minds and eliminate taboos." -- 2033 director Francisco Laresgoiti

2033 is a big, bold and beautifully designed new science fiction film from Mexico. Not a sentence you're probably used to reading I'm sure. In fact, Mexico has only recently started putting themselves on the international genre map with projects like Sleep Dealer (review), but now that newcomer Francisco Laresgoiti has unleashed this allegorically rich dystopian adventure onto the public I think it's safe to assume that the nation is making a major bid to put their own unique stamp on scifi filmmaking.

Considering the film is equal parts Gattaca, THX-1138, Logan's Run, Fahrenheit 451, Romeo and Juliet and even Dune (to list only a handful of the many nods and references throughout the film), the word "unique" might strike some of you as being an odd word to use to describe 2033. However, writer Jordi Mariscal keeps the story from being too cliched by focusing in on history and myth that's uniquely Mexican - namely the struggles of The Cristero War. This adds an entirely new flavor to what would otherwise be a standard scifi recipe.

Laresgoiti told us that his goal with 2033 was "to re-create a war in Mexico that [the] government has banned from history clases in schools and universities: The Cristero war. This war surged because of the banning of religion. Plutarco Elias Calles, president at that time, thought that "religion was in the way of progress", he expelled all priests and closed all the churches. This caused a national discontent, that triggered a rebellious and armed movement."

The film takes a few minutes to get through some heavy exposition, but once we find our main characters the story starts to fall in line quickly and flows very nicely. The story isn't told from the perspective of the downtrodden or dispossessed (as is most common with the genre), but from the perspective of a young member of the future society's elite class, Pablo. Pablo was born into power and is the heir to an important position in the government. He indulges in all the decadence you might expect him to (and even some you wouldn't expect). He stays out late, takes designer drugs, snipers civilians from the side of a helicopter and basically cares little for the politics of the world around him. He also totally buys into the state propaganda that positions the poor classes as wild "fanatics."

However, when Pablo discovers his father isn't dead like he was told, but is actually embedded in a rebel movement out to destroy the totalitarian regime that rules the population through drug addiction, his eyes are opened to the injustices of the world. He also finds a little love along the way too.

In terms of design, 2033 weaves an interesting tapestry of anachronisms. Nods to Italian 60s coutur mix seamlessly with 30s high society fashion and Mexican Brutalism (read: lots of concrete) to form another layer of uniqueness which helps 2033 overcome its budgetary constraints.

The visual effects are plentiful and are seamlessly layered throughout the film. I must say, I was surprised at the sheer amount of FX work that is in this movie. Everything, from the enhanced city skylines to the floating digital billboards over rural communities to the futuristic weapons and touch-screens, is tastefully done and presented in a way that doesn't interfere with the story, but rather enhances the texture of the world.

2033 would have been an ambitious film for a first director from any country and Francisco Laresgoiti shows he's got what it takes to balance both smarts and adventure. It's a bold film that makes an even bolder statement about what's going on in Mexican cinema right now. To be honest, I'm probably going to watch it again quite soon, maybe even update this post with some more thoughts.

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dale smith (10 years ago) Reply

the worst film i ever seen, a total
waste of time, bad actors- to begin with,bad directing- to end with,the rest is too good for the film...

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