After the disappointment that was ‘No Such Thing’, Hartley makes something of a return to form with a sci-fi parable which, in relation to its predecessors, bears most resemblance to ‘The Book of Life’. Set in the near future, it envisages a world in thrall to a dictatorship of consumerism, where even engaging in sex comes down not to attraction but boosting one’s value, and heart surgery is marketed as something to be desired. Double agent Bill Sage works for conglomerate Triple M at the same time as overseeing terrorists; things get even more complicated when he comes on to then shies away from strait-laced colleague Sabrina Lloyd (damaging her confidence in her insured sex appeal) and when he’s landed with looking after the titular alien (Tatiana Abracos), who’s not used to having a body. An adventure story-cum-satirical meditation on modern mores, the narrative is overly talky and not always as lucid as it might be; but the film is witty, thought-provoking and, thanks to inventive digital camerawork, visually impressive.
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