The Polish-American Science fiction Film “Warning”must be unfavorable in comparison with “Black Mirror”, especially since”Warning” is also an untapped collection of cynical Science Fiction morality plays set in the near future. The main difference is that “warning” takes about 85 minutes.
“Warning” also appeals to viewers who, like its cast of neurotic foreign characters, don’t lead full lives in our technological modernity. That is, full lives, as determined by the imprecise creators of “Warning”, which contains a semi-serious subplot about a mentally sterile woman who falls apart if she cannot pray for “God 2.0”, an Alexa-style prayer computer. There is also a subplot that unfolds with one of the best science fiction plots-the life of an astronaut flashes before his eyes as he dies alone in space-but isn’t that great? “Warning” will judge you, but only after making some banal observations about the persistent inhumanity of man to man.
To be fair, it’s a little strange to see the creators of a new English-language Science Fiction film struggling to lament our crippling addiction to technology. That old chestnut again? “Warning” follows several stories that all take place on the same day. Most of them are variations on the same theme: Humanity, always passion with all the bad things, even in the future.
“Warning” begins and ends with its High-concept storyline, which is supposed to connect the others: Doomed astronaut David (Thomas Jane) hovers in space and reflects on his life after a strange wave of current has him out of control. This strange premise is about as indestructible as St. Peter scolding the dead outside the gates of the pearls of heaven. Unfortunately, David exists mainly to set up a dark and funny Anti-climax that doesn’t work considering the complete absence of dramatic tension in the previous subplots. Most of the vignettes in the film, about the 2.0 God-worshipper Claire (Alice Eve) and the unfortunately obsolete companion robot Charlie (Rupert Everett), look like semi-finished sketches that have been glued together, because less often it looks more when there are a lot of them. Besides, David’s here to tilt everything, wait.
Directed and co-written by Agata Alexander, “Warning” invites viewers to consider certain situations without ever really developing these ideas, signs, scenarios, etc. imagine: what would you do if, like the mortal Nina (Annabelle Wallis), you were confronted by your immortal in-laws who did not want you to date your passive mature immortal Son Liam (Alex Pettyfer)? Or if, like Claire, you became so addicted to technology that you felt compelled to ask a humble customer service representative for an inspiring offer for the day? What would you do then?
These imaginations are not original enough to be naturally sympathetic, and they are too often grounded by characters who are too boring and/or pathetic to be human. Nina twists her eyes most of the time and tries to be polite when she does things like “Why can’t you find someone like yourself?And Claire sets up different cheerful but impersonal customer service representatives, for some overwhelming conceptual spikes, like when Claire says “Do it manually” after asking how to pray without God 2.0. These characters are Walking Gags, and they’re barely developed by individual actors like Eve and Wallis, who do a lot with very little.
On the other hand, can you blame some of the actors in the film for being less than dazzling given the material they had to work with? Everett’s presence is gentle, but his strange Commitment to Charlie’s whimsical Tics is reminiscent of the worst parts of “Heartbeeps.”On the other hand, it’s hard to know what went wrong with Jane’s performance, because he goes through his line readings as fast as David goes through the different stages of grief. See David petulantly God’s curse: “As far as fathers go, you’re not very good either. Shit.”Now watch him enjoy a silly moment of Zen that paves the way for the snarky finale of the movie: “it’s easier to live in an Illusion than in it… Reality.”
What is wrong with “warning” beyond a general lack of character or conceptual development? We move from one story to another, until any idea, big or small, is set aside with childish zeal. Usually I like genre movies that play out like bad shaggy dog jokes, but “warning” doesn’t go far with such skinny fumes.