The sci-fi genre has long been a favourite among cinephiles and film buffs. From introducing visceral space travel and aliens to descriptions of possible futuristic society and other ominous problems, the artform has solidified itself as one of the most popular genres in cinema, with its path being paved by Fritz Lang’s 1927 masterpiece Metropolis.
Netflix has a wide collection of sci-fi films and shows that cater to a culmination of sci-fi elements including horror, fantasy, apocalypses, virus infestation, alien invasions etc. One of Netflix’s most popular sci-fi shows Black Mirror has been mentioned on this site on numerous occasions owing to the trippy and existential elements it introduces via every episode in the anthology series. Much like Charlie Brooker’s ingenious creation, there is one particular dystopian sci-fi film which is an underrated gem.
Directed by Jennifer Phang, Advantageous is an avant-garde 2015 sci-fi drama that might make one question their own existence while examining the meaning of life, mortality and the philosophy of living.
Set in a futuristic dystopia, the film abounds in various scathing socio-political examinations. It shows blatant misogyny and ageism as a single mother named Gwen is fired from her job as a spokeswoman for a biotech company as she is not young, marketable or a man. The dystopic society believes in imminent danger with too many unemployed men. Portrayed by Jacqueline Kim, Gwen and her daughter live a life of extreme economic hardships in a society that is plagued by terrorist attacks, child prostitution, dysfunctional and violent outbursts, mob outrage and other forms of physical violence.
Although they live amidst such tough times, Gwen thrives on love for her daughter as the film chronicles the sacrifices she makes to secure Jules’ future. She volunteers to be the test subject for a new procedure where one’s consciousness can be transferred to another body. However, whether love prevails, in the end, is the ultimate question that the film strives to answer.
The film is a slow-burn battle between cynicism and hope as the elements of societal dysfunction and mind control trickle in slowly but steadily which is pretty terrifying. As Gwen and her daughter slowly grow disconnected towards the end, the film becomes a massive heartbreak as one sees Gwen struggle to retain Jules’ memories. Phang’s brilliant understanding of pastel colours, music and melancholy complement the gloomy and grim atmosphere.
The subtle and voluminous silence pervading the film is even more meaningful and drives the desolate madness of the society the two unfortunate souls reside in. The film makes one contemplate love, life and everything in between, long after the credits start rolling.
Watch Advantageous on Netflix now.