MUBI’s take on ‘The Future’ is a fine example of false advertising, and it goes like this:
“A surreal, freewheeling adaptation of Roberto Bolaño’s novel A Little Lumpen Novelita, this remarkable film from Chilean director Alicia Scherson leaps between genres – from noir to 50’s sci-fi pastiche. Told through a series of flashbacks, The Future is a thrillingly postmodern, magic-realist enigma.”
Even though I’m not familiar with the source material, I’ve seen enough ‘surreal’ and ‘magic-realist’ pieces of cinema to know that a mysterious (or rather, meta-gimmicky) light seen by two protagonists can hardly be considered a reason for such labels. The only thing remarkable about Scherson’s film is how unremarkable most of its aspects are, from her bland direction and uninvolving screenplay, to weathered Rutger Hauer on autopilot in a supporting role of a blind ex-bodybuilder / actor who falls for an adolescent girl played with a cold, if uninhibited nonchalance by 30-yo Manuela Martinelli. That leaping through genres is much closer to aimless meandering, with noir-ish vibes only present in parts that feel as if belonging to another film, and 50’s sci-fi pastiche being... what exactly? The aforementioned light, or the excerpts from ‘Maciste’ fantasy features seen on a TV? As ‘thrillingly postmodern’ as a dead horse flogged by a celery stalk, ‘The Future’ is barely redeemed by its decent visuals, with some stylish imagery popping-up in the second half, as well as by the weirdly evocative score.
However, if you want a different opinion to make you waste 90 minutes of your time, here’s the last line from Andrew McArthur’s article for The People’s Movies website:
“Scherson has crafted a fascinating slice of gothic noir that proves to be both sublimely acted and directed. Il Futuro is packed with suspense, heart and nostalgia – resulting in an outstandingly original combination.”