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GENESIS **

Directed by Freddie Hutton-Mills and Bart Ruspoli. Starring Olivia Grant, John Hannah, Chike Okonkwo, Warren Brown. Sci-Fi, UK/Hunary, 116 mins, cert TBC.

Released in the UK by Lionsgate on Download on 9th July and on DVD by on 16th July 2018.

 

As well as taking its title, British science-fiction drama GENESIS also takes the name of its primary setting from the start of The Bible. Here though, Eden is far from an idyllic garden but an underground silo in which the last remaining remnants of humanity struggle to survive. The year is 2069 and a chemical attack has created a post-apocalyptic world in which the air is toxic and people do little more than exist.

 

After an effective opening sequence, the backstory is filled in via narrative exposition from Paul Brooks (John Hannah) before we’re introduced to the aforementioned survivors. As we enter their world we discover a social structure in which the peasants are revolting while an elusive president (Ed Stoppard) offers them ‘some hope, but not too much’ of a better future. Part of that plan is Abel (Chike Okonkwo), an artificial intelligence being created by Dr. Eve Gabriel (Olivia Grant) who can survive in the toxic air and save mankind.

 

Abel’s own intelligence however soon evolves and the time-honoured notion of what it means to be human that is so oft-explored in science-fiction rears its head once more. Can humanity control what it has created? Will they end up simply destroying one another before they find out?

 

The script draws on many influences from the sci-fi genre, from Isaac Asimov to BLADE RUNNER and EX MACHINA to THE TERMINATOR, and its ambition is to be applauded. There are more words than warfare here and while it’s hardly an original set-up, there are some original ideas alongside some slick special effects.

 

Herein however lies the crux of the film’s downfall – the many themes and multiple story strands weigh it down. Motives become muddled, story strands struggle for screen time, characters get barely stretched beyond thumbnail sketches, themes become undermined and all that is before a mid-point plot twist. While the tone remains consistent, it relies on a script that needed trimming down and required a more concise focus before the cameras started to role.

 

It does end on a cliff-hanger and subsequently it comes as no surprise to learn that this is just part one of a planned trilogy. Whether the following two films materialise remains to be seen but from the set-up, it does appear as though part two will be a more stripped-down film with a more focal central narrative.

 

The question is though, will it retain any of the small doses of originality that are the main selling point of this?

 

PHIL SLATTER

 

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 © 2000 - 2018