2033 | Movie review
A dystopian Mexican thriller emphasizes mood at the expense of character.
Following the footsteps of other recent works by Mexican directors—Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth and Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men—this slick, ambitious thriller serves dystopic fantasy with a political tinge. Twenty-two years from now, a corporate-government cabal feeds both media lies and toxic chemicals to its people, while the rich literally prey on the poor, gunning them down from helicopters for sport. The remains of the homeless are swept up by state-owned Roombas; nightlife involves imbibing green liquids and taking drugs via eyedrops that cause tear ducts to bleed.
Such moments attest to first-time director Laresgoiti’s fitful imagination; he also has an eye for colorful, geometric settings, some taken from actual Mexico City locations, giving a distinctly South-of-the-Border feel to his future shock. If only the film’s hero had as much flavor. As a rich boy who falls in with religious revolutionaries, Lafarga is a vapid presence unable to convey his character’s radical transformation. Fault could lie just as much with Laresgoiti’s overemphasis on building mood rather than character depth or dramatic movement. Ultimately, the scenario itself falls flat. Reportedly inspired by the Cristero War, when Mexican Catholics battled an anti-clerical government, the screenplay’s political provocations collapse into generic telenovela suspense.