Now there’s one thing we need to get straight right away:
The words “Indie Comedy” don’t mean what you think they do. In a market full of grim and very serious films, anything that raises a chuckle or two is a “comedy.”
In fact, for the average viewer, the most common reaction to a movie like, say, Cold Souls (or for that matter, anything by Aki Kaurismäki), is “that’s a comedy??”
Leon Must Die is an Indie SF comedy. And, yes, it isn’t a lough a minute riot. It does have a few funny bits along the way, but it has a fairly dark tone and ending.
Leon is a quiet guy who pretty much keeps to himself. He has few friends and spends most of his time either in his apartment or feeding the ducks.
He hardly seems the sort of guy an assassin from the future would be sent back to kill.
Unfortunately, the project he’s working on is about to destroy the human race.
You see, Leon is dying and is hard at work on a way to download your mind to a computer.
And just to make things more complicated, the assassin, Aqua, can’t kill him because she’s falling in love with him.
Leon Must Die is primarily a relationship film. That’s somewhat rare in a Science Fiction film (Passengers comes to mind) but welcome because that means the characters and their stories are more developed. The future Aqua comes from is detailed and more or less plausible. There’s even a bit of action and a few fights. It’s a pleasant and entertaining film, even if it spends most of its time with the main characters talking.
But it remains a dark film, which dwells heavily on death without finding any real answers and comes to a darkly ironic ending that lacks the gravitas it needed to be tragic.
It’s not for everyone, in other words. Particularly not if you are expecting a light-hearted romantic comedy.
And then there’s the unanswered question that never gets asked in these sorts of films: is a copy of someone’s brain really the same thing as the original person?
…And why did I just picture a future made entirely of Max Headrooms?