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Paradise – Review

Would you give up a decade of your life for financial stability for the rest of it? This is the question Paradise begins with, offering struggling families an option out of poverty in exchange for an unlived lifetime to be given to the wealthy, providing of course they are a genetic match.

AEON has perfected a technique that can transfer any number of years remaining from one individual’s life to another, effectively de-ageing the recipient and accelerating the donor. This is primarily offered to the rich elite but extends to Nobel prize scientists.

Max (Kostja Ullmann) in a plastic poncho making his way through time protestors

We follow Max, a “time broker” for Aeon who goes around and convinces people to sign their years. We see him do this with an eighteen-year-old as he explains that the money would be more than his family could make in the fifteen years they are asking for and would be enough to legalise their citizenship. Max is a good guy, he’s an honest worker, who doesn’t screw over his clients and fully believes in the system.

Olivia Theissen (Iris Berben) with Max (Kostja Ullmann)

When his apartment burns down and the insurance doesn’t cover it he is devastated to learn that the bank demands the debt be repaid immediately, with 40 yrs, from his wife Elena. Here’s where the movie rears the ugly truth of this world, that when life becomes a commodity, nothing is truly yours to keep.

Elena (Marlene Tanczik) in a medical gown on a table

After the premise is set we leave the utopian society of Aeon and the film goes more into crime thriller as Max and Elena kidnap the recipient of Elena’s lifetime to reverse the procedure via black market means. Meanwhile, they have to keep outrunning Aeon and the terrorist group Adam who oppose and execute anyone in league with “time donations”.

Elena (Corinna Kirchhoff) after the effects of the treatment

Distributed by Netflix, this German science fiction film presents us with a very dystopian future and while no big names are in this the one actor I did recognize was Numan Acar who was in Spider-man: Far From Home. However, the rest of the European cast was great and fully believable, particularly the two actresses playing Elena (one old, one young) whose portrayal went from devastating to acceptance and finally ruthless.

Kaya (Lorna Ishema) and Viktor (Numan Acar) in combat position

Filmed mostly on location in Lithuania we get a great contrast between slums, high society and the European countryside. Although we do get some future tech, the film isn’t overly reliant on it all leading to a very believable atmosphere.

young Elena and Max stopped by police

Most of the score does its job, the only stand out being a unique version of “I Can See Clearly Now” during the opening. The film was available in its native German audio with a very component English dub.

Sophie Theissen (Alina Levshin) with an elder Elena

Paradise was a great watch. It’s a more cerebral science fiction film which doesn’t bog us down with the science. Instead, we see the human cost of scientific wonders and a great character study of good people being forced into unscrupulous actions by the system that let them down.

7/10 star rating






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