Reviews

Sci-Fi London Film Festival: The End of Lonely Island – Review

“In the last 24 hours of saving the world, it’s the loneliness that will kill us first”

You know, there is a very little number of films that examine the loneliness that comes from being a human in a science fiction environment. I mean can you name any? In a world riddled with technology and the destruction of mankind, it certainly does seem like a rather lonely environment. Being left alone in such a situation definitely sends shivers don one’s spine.

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As part of Sci-Fi London, director James Wang’s hour long debut explores this providing us with an engaging and terrifying tale. What if a piece of technology was so smart, that it decided to take over? Better still, it was so far ahead, so superior that it didn’t even know that its actions were sinister – it was just doing what it thought was right.

Of course, this is a concept that has been previously explored in many a TV series and film, yet The End of Lonely Island takes you on its very own emotional journey with a sci-fi infusion. We are introduced to female scientist Lin Xia who seems to be taking on the biggest task of them all – saving the human race from extinction. Through a series of slick flashbacks we gain the knowledge that she invented an AI, called TESS far more evolved than she could have ever imagined. And it’s because of this she desperately tries to save everyone she can.

At first this beautifully secluded island seems full of warmth and adventure soon for it to be a place consumed emptiness and a place flooded with painful memories. However, it’s those thoughts that allow our strong female lead to strive and push through in order to do her best in such a crisis. The post-apocalyptic atmosphere alongside its dark tones and textures embody the sci-fi genre to a T. Lin’s desire to survive succumbs everything and above all else her love for her boyfriend, 4 years away somewhere in stars is what truly lies beneath this narrative. Their story is a touching one that transcends time and space as we hear Zhi’s voice from far away on a mission to start over on another planet. As we ourselves are quickly finding out the human race is single-handedly destroying our Earth as we know it and to take to the stars to find a more desirable home is a very real subject.

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Carefully placed CGI and effects give us just enough to chew on without overbearing the real story that resides at its heart. At times confusion takes hold as Wang decides to withhold certain facts and information about what truly happened here. Although perhaps if there was a short explanation or an additional scene this would have been a very impressive debut from an upcoming director. Ordinarily there are a few dud translations, but this is nevertheless entertaining and upon a second viewing much more accessible.

Maybe this is a message – don’t trust machines too much because they could be much more than we think they are.


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