Whilst it’s a general rule of thumb that the less you know going into any movie is for the better, it must be said that it absolutely must be practiced when it comes to Biosphere.
A wonderfully strange film, Mel Eslyn‘s two hander focuses on the friendship between Ray (Sterling K. Brown) and Billy (Mark Duplass, also serving as the film’s co-writer beside Eslyn), possibly the last two men on Earth, who are living in a biosphere following the seeming destruction of the world around them; though it’s never outright said, we assume something nuclear has taken place.
Brown and Duplass are the only two men who occupy the film – not always an easy task – and, thanks to an intelligent script, it’s never short of being absolutely riveting as their vastly opposing personalities keep us consistently engaged; the fact that one built the biosphere whilst the other may have possibly been responsible for the event itself is already enough of a dynamic to keep us on board.
Given the intelligence of both men, the conversations and theories we are privy to make for an increasingly fascinating watch – it’s amazing how much we want to keep our eyes on two men contained within a limited structure – with gender roles and the societal views of masculinity and femininity versus their actual worth proving one of Biosphere‘s most topical points.
With such conversations taking place, the film itself has an eclectic tone throughout, with hilarity and sadness often playing alongside one another in the same scene. It all ultimately proves a testament to both Brown and Duplass as an acting duo selling their situation, and the oft-claustrophobic mentality of Eslyn’s directing.
Now, as you’re reading I imagine perhaps you’re questioning why a film that seems so conversationally-based has to be entered with as little knowledge as possible. Whilst the conversations are all best left to hear with fresh ears, it’s the narrative’s twist midway through that truly shocks Biosphere out of its rhythm. I dare not even allude to what takes place, but their views as men are ultimately threatened, and how Eslyn and Duplass’s script transforms such a situation is breath-taking in the way it approaches such with both humour and heart.
Though the film’s deceptively simplistic nature won’t appeal to the masses, and many may not be ready for the conversations this film confronts you with, Biosphere can’t help but be utterly commended for its boldness and bravery in tackling its central themes. It’s truly unlike anything you’ve seen and deserves to be embraced, whether you agree with it or not.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Biosphere is screening in Australian theatres from September 7th, 2023.