2047: VIRTUAL REVOLUTION passes the Standard Dystopian Film Test
Let’s get this out of the way first: 2047: Virtual Revolution looks like the story of gamers who live down the street from the Blade Runner 2049 gang. If that visual is your cup of tea, rest assured that this movie ticks all the boxes for slick style and rainy dystopian glory; impressive since it didn’t have a giant Hollywood FX budget to accomplish this. What else? Big Brother, Matrix-like interconnectivity, questionable ethics regarding human freedom and snappy futuristic costumes! More boxes checked!
Now that we’ve established that it’s passed the Standard Dystopian Film Test, what sets Virtual Revolution apart from anything that came before it?
Nash (Mike Dopud) is an agent/assassin for Synternis, one of the companies that run the virtual worlds where “the connected,” – those who have chosen to live full-time in a virtual gaming state – play all day and night. His job is to find and eliminate any threats to Synternis’ control over the majority of the population. When he’s not hunting those who believe internet companies shouldn’t keep humans happily addicted to online gaming, Nash is half-living in that state himself. In an attempt to escape from the grief over his wife Helena’s recent death, he engages in medieval/fantasy swordplay with his (online) friends and new (online) girlfriend. His latest assignment pulls him back into the real world, and Nash starts tracking down a violent cell of “necromancers,” individuals who are unleashing viruses to kill (really, not virtually) the connected.
As Nash goes about his job along with the help of Morel the Scrappy Hacker (Maximilien Poullein, as the hands-down most likeable character), we get to learn a bit more about the necromancers’ values, motivations and belief that “everyone wants freedom.” They also drop a few hints that Synternis had more to do with Helena’s death than he’d ever realized. So who are the bad guys and good guys, then? Those dedicated to human freedom? Those dedicated to human happiness? What about humans themselves?
Although the majority of the film is nothing revolutionary, story-wise, I will give credit where credit is due as Nash ends the film by reminding us that “the revolution did happen, just not the way people thought it would.” We aren’t given a cookie-cutter Hollywood ending, which ended up being my favorite part of 2047: Virtual Revolution, as we’re forced to realize that nobody in this film really falls into the good guy/bad guy category, including Nash and his wife. It’s reality; it is what it is.
As I mentioned before, the special effects and visuals were impressive considering that it carries an indie budget and aspirations of repeatedly raiding Blade Runner‘s closet. Its sparse, dystopian Paris is actually depressingly gorgeous, and everything we needed in each shot was there. The acting is decent and a couple of dark humor moments weren’t out of place. The pacing of the fight scenes did falter however, as the actors were visibly pausing and waiting for their opponent to land their next blows.
The most remarkable moment of the film is utterly absent of any action or even emotion: as Nash talks to his boss, Dina (Jane Badler), she offhandedly reminds him about the past (ours, the viewer’s current day). The government had to pay for people’s healthcare, retirement funds and unemployment. Now, since the government is only paying for rent, some food and (most importantly) the internet connection, politicians are saving money and it quite likes the arrangement between the companies, the connected, and the government. Plus, she points out, the government is not footing the bill for very long, since the life expectancy of your average connected individual is no more than their early forties. Yikes…that’s one dystopian moment that’s a shot across the bow of our current reality. It’s realistic and as such the most chilling exchange in the entire movie.
Although I wouldn’t call it a must-see, if you have the opportunity to stream or find 2047: Virtual Revolution on DVD, I would encourage you to do so. Stick with it through Nash’s ending monologue, it’ll give you something to think about in regards to human freedom and who gets to determine what it is, as opposed to what it’s supposed to be.