The new Netflix film “Io” is a sci-fi film set in the future (natch) on a toxic Earth thanks to years of pollution. The film stars Margaret Qualley as Sam Walden, one of the few humans left on the planet, as most humans have fled to live on a space station near Io, one of the moons of Jupiter. Sam lives at a high altitude where the air is still breathable, so she can conduct experiments with the honey bees she is trying to raise in the hopes they will adapt to the current atmosphere of Earth. When she takes breaks from her daily routines of working with the bees and traveling to a nearby polluted city to gather supplies and explore, she communicates with her boyfriend Elon (voided by Tom Payne) who has already fled to the space station orbiting Io, where Sam plans on joining him soon. One afternoon Sam has an unexpected visitor, named Micah (Anthony Mackie), who arrives via a helium balloon to see Sam’s father Henry Walden (Danny Huston) after hearing one of his transmissions. Unfortunately Sam informs Micah her father is away and is not sure when he will return. Micah decides to wait on the return of Henry in order to discuss the doctors idea of staying on Earth as he still saw hope for the planet. Days pass with no Henry, which leads Sam to make a shocking revelation after Micah pushes her to confess about her missing father. In the meantime, while gathering honey comb, Micah discovers a newly hatched queen bee which proves to be immune to the toxic air. The discovery occurs as the duo are planning on leaving to catch the last space shuttle to the space station. The planned trip hits a snag when the duo overhear a transmitting revealing the location of the shuttle departure has been moved, resulting in Micah revealing they don’t have enough helium to reach the shuttle. Sam reveals she knows where they can locate more helium in the heavily polluted city, so the duo head out to gather more for their trip. While in the city Sam does something shocking and then reveals to Micah something he is surprised to hear. Will the duo make it to the shuttle on time or are they destined to be stranded on Earth? I will not reveal the final outcome of the aforementioned question, but I will say the conclusion of the film is satisfying. However, I am still not quite sure if the ending was real or a dream, so I suppose each of us can interpret the ending in our own way. While this film is classified as science fiction, it certainly is missing the action of most films in the genre, and can be best described as “quiet.” Thus if you prefer aliens, robots, androids, and laser weapons as part of your sci-fi film menu, then you may want to steer clear of this effort. On the other hand, if you enjoy thought provoking sci-fi with a more scientific approach, you will defiantly appreciate this film. The small cast, led by Qualley, are all effective in their roles, and Mackie (probably best know as the character Falcon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe), makes a fine contrast to the quiet determination of Qualley’s Sam. Director Jonathan Helpert handles the very realistic situation of a toxic Earth with aplomb, and allows the actors plenty of time to expand their characters in this minimalist film. The special effects are impressive, and even though the film at time seems plodding, the message is clear: we must care for the Earth, or we are headed for disaster. While “Io” will not be everyone’s ‘cup of tea”, it will provide ample thought provoking conservation. “Io” is currently streaming on Netflix. (Rated TV-14) 🌎🌎
By Ken Silvers
Ken is a graduate of East Tennessee State University, a former DJ and current employee of AT&T. He is a huge Batman fan and loves Dolly Parton and Cher.
2 months ago Pop Life