Wiseguy’s review published on Letterboxd:
God I love Æon Flux. So, so much. It's eerie, sinister, captivating, mesmerizing, bizarre, dark, funny, creepy, uncomfortable, beautiful, it's everything. First time I saw it I fell harder and faster in love with it than a lead ball drops to the bottom of the sea.
I'm a long-time fan of Peter Chung's works. Human beings are wrinkly, lumpy, creepy creatures from the right perspective, even the most beautiful ones, sex is kind of disgusting when you think about it, and humans have an instinctive desire for adrenaline rushes- and that's something he really captures seemingly effortlessly. Human beings are capable of great kindness and compassion, and great wisdom and thought, and they are also capable of immense selfishness, callousness, violence, and stupidity.
Æon Flux is an illustration of the human being as an animal of a specific intelligence, capable of specific thoughts and behaviors, and that being the only thing that differentiates us from other animals. Æon is kind, she is cruel. She is selfless, she is selfish. She is intelligent, she is foolish. She is sexual, she is unsettling. She is beautiful, she is ugly. And she simply continues to exist on and on and on. She rises, she falls. She slips, she succeeds.
Æon and the Monicans themselves represent chaos, rebellion, sexuality, fluidity, destruction, freedom. Trevor and the Bregnans represent order, structure, industrialism, conservatism, rigidity. They are perpetually at war with each other, yet require each other to function. Æon Flux doesn't really work if you try to humanize the characters and their narrative too much, they are symbols that represent greater ideas and concepts. Nobody is really purely good or evil. Nobody is really meant to be sympathetic- unless you see something about them you consider sympathetic.
It's about nature and humanity through the lens of nature being something that cannot have morality applied to it. In a way, it takes a risk doing that, and can come off as nihilistic- but I don't know if I can call it *entirely* nihilistic. It too captures the passion for thrill and adventure and the drive to survive against all odds that's present in the human condition. It's kind of a piece of egoist art in a way.
The most primal, animalistic depiction of human beings, juxtaposed onto a futuristic, technology-heavy, cyberpunk world. That's my kind of shit.
I will forever be smitten with the atmospheres Chung creates. Neumann's score is absolutely ideal. It goes from cool to creepy to dramatic to silly at the flick of a wrist, and what a perfect analogy for existence itself.
The universe is absurd, everything it contains is absurd, Æon Flux is a love letter to that absurdity. It's cosmic and breathtaking.