Biosphere Comedy

Last Men Standing: A TIFF Review of ‘Biosphere’

September 12, 2022Ben MK

As those famous words of wisdom from Jurassic Park go, "Life finds a way." But when the world as we know it has come to an end and you find yourself waiting out the inevitable under the roof of a gigantic glass dome, what does that really mean? As the last two people on Earth are about to discover, the answer can be surprising, in director Mel Eslyn's hilarious yet thought-provoking feature debut.

A post-apocalyptic tale minus the CG-laden set pieces that are a norm for the genre, the film follows Billy (Mark Duplass), the former President of the United States, and Ray (Sterling K. Brown), his top advisor. It's been several years since virtually all life on the planet was wiped out by a nuclear disaster, and now the two longtime friends have been forced to take refuge in a biosphere of Ray's design, as they try to stay alive and stay sane by keeping up their regular exercise routines, listening to records, and playing Super Nintendo. One day, however, the unexpected happens, when one of their last two remaining fish — both of which are males — begins to spontaneously shed its male sex organs and develop female ones. And when Billy notices that his body is starting to undergo similar changes, the pair begin to wonder if Mother Nature is playing a cruel trick on them, or whether there might be a significantly more important reason for this sudden shift in human evolution.

Despite the far-fetched premise, the result is far more than what one might expect from your average sci-fi comedy drama. Instead, Eslyn, Duplass and Brown ground these characters with so much empathy and emotion that it's easy to become invested in their journey. Suffice to say, Biosphere isn't the first movie to address the evolving issue of gender identity in today's society. It is, however, one of the few to do so with such humor and wit.

Biosphere screens under the Special Presentations programme at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 46 min.

You May Also Like