Netflix has been consistently adding new movies and shows for viewers like us to watch. Some of these are fantastic and already have a cult following. Unfoertunately, the one thing Netflix is constantly good at is giving us awful movies that should of died in the DVD bargain bin. IO is one of those movies that I feel should be never watched.
I’m going to spoil the story in order to spare you from watching this movie. Set in the not too distant future, the Earth is becoming inhabitable. The air has become so terrible in some places that it is killing human life. In an attempt to continue the human race, a space station near the planet IO is used as a colony. Almost everyone has left the planet except a few survivors who think the planet will be habitable again.
Sam Walden (Margaret Qualley) is shown living up above the toxic clouds. She has lived here alone since her father died one year earlier. A man in a Helium balloon arrives on the property. Micah (Anthony Mackie) arrives to meet Sam’s father. She lies and tells him that the father is still alive but is out at the moment. Sam eventually tells the truth that her father is dead. Now during this time Sam is in contact with the space station around IO. A boy named Elon who she loves has decided to be one of the first people to go to a new planet. After she gets the news that she will never see her love again, a strangely forced romantic encounter happens between her and Micah. This along with many other moments makes the movie unbearable and odd.
A final launch is set for anyone left on Earth. Sam and Micah go off into the city to get more Helium. Sam then vists a museum at which point she decides to take off her air mask. The movie ends with Micah sailing away on his Helium balloon and Sam is shown on a beach with a young child. We only get to see the space station once and in that brief glimpse we get the best part of the movie.
The movie isn’t terrible to look at for the most part. IO is set in a home high up in the mountains and in various parts of a nameless city. The tone is set to be dark and depressing since this is a different take on the end of the world. The pacing in this movie is annoying. Some moments just don’t work and days that have passed in the story just don’t add up. Using CGI near the end to show off some of the buildings did not work. Like I said, the best looking part of the movie is when the space station is shown orbiting IO.
The movie only has a few actors in it and they just don’t work well together. Nothing that happens between the characters is believable or solid. Margaret Qualley, Anthony Mackie, and Danny Huston all play a part in this movie but none of them are remotely believable. The character of Sam is so tone deaf to the world around her. In one scene she’s chopping up some food as Micah storms in angrily smashing some random objects. Her reaction shows she’s not ready as an actress to take on a role like this.
Anthony Mackie tries to bring his best but it just doesn’t work with this actress or setting. He really should stick with what he does best right now. That is being an Avenger. Danny Huston doesn’t give me a reason to be sad he’s gone as a father. The best actor in this whole thing is the guy who does the voice over of the emails. Tom Payne plays Elon who gives us that feeling he really is going to go out and save the world. I look back now and think that maybe Death Note was only off because Margaret Qualley isn’t really that good yet. I really hope she’s tries to act in something that would be better for her skills.
The movie doesn’t give us a reason to want to watch it. This idea that is shown at the end that she survives (or does not) will throw off the viewer. Given that a queen bee is created that can breathe in a time where the atmosphere is awful should be a big deal. IO went into a direction that should have been avoided. From the mistakes in casting to a story that doesn’t work, this is a movie that should never be watched.