(director: Boris Kunz, Tomas Jonsgarden, Indrie Juskute; screenwriters: Boris Kunz, Simon Amberger/Peter Cocyla; cinematographer: Christian Stangassinger; music: David Reichelt; cast: Corinna Kirchhoff (Elena-old lady), Kostja Ullmann (Max Toma), Marlene Tanczik (Elena Toma), Iris Berben (Sophie Theissen), Lisa-Marie Koroll (donor), Lorna Ishema (Kaya), Lisa Loven Kongsli (Lillith), Aleyna Cara (Pamina Yildrim), Numan Acar (Viktor), Dalila Abdallah (Lorna); Runtime: 117; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Simon Amberger/Rafael Parente/Korbinian Dufter; Netflix; 2023-Germany-in German with English subtitles)

“In its more serious moments warns us how revolting things can get when the people of science greedily sell their souls for capitalistic gain.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The film with the ironic title is directed by German filmmaker Boris Kunz (Three Hours) from a script by the director, Simon Amberger and Peter Cocyla. There are two other minor directors handling parts of the film, Tomas Jonsgarden (Aeon Commercial Unit South Africa) and Indrie Juskute (Commercial Unit Lithuania). It’s a futuristic dystopian sci-fi film, showing the downfall of human values.

Aeon is a biotech company run by its founder Sophie Theissen (Iris Berben). They develop a method for people to donate the years of their lives to others. As time is used as a currency, the rich benefit from it because they can pay for years to their life and could possibly live forever. Meanwhile the vulnerable and the poor (mostly immigrants) are talked into giving up their youth to pay for their bills. The process works as their “years” given the buyer are put up for donation, until there’s a DNA match with the buyer of the “years” to prolong their life span, and then there’s a transfer to the buyer. It seems a bit wonky.

A group of rebels, led by the shadowy Lillith (Lisa Loven Kongsli), form as violent protesters to try to punish those who support this injustice, which leads to the limited action scenes in this low-budget thinking man’s sci-fi thriller.

Aeon has become an unethical pharmaceutical company worth in the billions, that’s a blemish to the nation.

The ‘worker of the year’ Max (Kostja Ullmann) for Aeon is a fast-talking salesman who cashes in on the company’s invention to live a great life. But things sour when his attractive nurse wife Elena (Marlene Tanzcik) is forced to pay back the 40 years of her life paid to the bank that was used as collateral to purchase their luxury house and now she must pay off the debts incurred over a mysterious fire in their plush home that the insurance company refuses to reimburse them for the damages.

Elena after an operation has become an old lady (now played by Corinna Kirchhoff). The forlorn couple’s response to this tragedy, who want to start a family, is to try and reverse the aging process (which can only be done with a proper DNA match). This results in the kidnapping of the right “donor” (Lisa-Marie Koroll) and sneaking her out of Germany for an illegal operation, and thereby maybe Elena will get her years back.

It’s a film that in its more serious moments warns us how revolting things can get when the people of science greedily sell their souls for capitalistic gain. It also questions if rich people should be more valued than the poor.

The result is an erratic film that comes with an unfulfilling ending, that is at best an average thriller (falsely telling us the rich are evil and the poor are saintly). Its manipulative motto is “Donate time and start a new life.”

It played at the Filmfest München.