The Humanity Bureau (2017)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Humanity Bureau</strong> (2017)

(On Cable TV, December 2018) I’m game to give a chance to nearly all made-in-Canada Science Fiction movies, but my patience has its limits and those were exceeded by The Humanity Bureau, as dull a dystopian film as I can recall recently. Nicolas Cage (clearly still looking to pay his tax bill) stars as a Midwestern government official who assesses people for exile to a colony where (hang on to your hats, here, this is going to get wild) nobody has ever come back. Given that you have already guessed the film’s big twist, there isn’t much more to say … except that this government agent takes pity on a woman and her child and then flee north to Canada where, in the grand tradition of American dystopias, a state of peace, order and good government awaits. (Maple syrup rules force me to point out that this isn’t as much a well-worn trope as a statement of national pride.) This dull plot is executed in bland fashion with brown-black cinematography, predictable plot twists, a darker-than-expected conclusion and bog-standard dystopian clichés. Cage is very ordinary here, looking detached and unaffected by the entire production—there’s nothing of his exuberant acting style left. Exasperating to get through, The Humanity Bureau has little to say and goes at it badly. Considering that there’s a mini-flood of Canadian SF productions out there, it’s not special in any way and would be fated to quick oblivion if it wasn’t for it qualifying as CanCon fit to be played endlessly on Canadian TV channels.

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