“In the beginning, everything feels so alive and exciting. But time makes it predictable.”


Predictability is not necessarily a flaw unless a film is so focused on impressing its audience with a twist that its fumbled attempts at misdirection serve only to weaken its narrative. Foe is a perfect example of prizing surprise over storytelling — and failing on both counts. Its near future Earth, ravaged by climate change, is a sandblasted backdrop to the exploration of an isolated couple’s relationship. Their strained marriage is tested when they receive an unexpected offer: Junior has been chosen to spend time on an orbiting space station and Hen will be provided with an AI simulacrum while he is away. Foe succeeds in crafting an oppressive, emotionally fraught atmosphere with committed performances from Saoirse Ronan and Paul Mescal, and clearly has ambitions at exploring the human condition in the vein of Ex Machina with its tripartite claustrophobic conversations. However, the deliberate lack of context and ponderous pretensions at profundity instead make Foe a gruelling and unrewarding experience.