A World Without review – a utopist sloppy dystopia

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: October 14, 2021 (Last updated: January 21, 2023)
Netflix film A World Without


A World Without is a sloppy and superficial dystopian drama with potential yet poor execution. Rather than ominous sensation, it turns out to be a shabby ensemble that leaves you with “Eh?”

This review of the Netflix film A World Without does not contain spoilers.

Have you ever imagined a world without flaws? Netflix’s A World Without is a dystopian sci-fi drama directed and written by Nia Dinata alongside Lucky Kuswandi. The movie is set in 2030, ten years after the pandemic strikes. It’s a story of three best friends, Salina (Amanda Rowles), Ulfah (Maizura), and Tara (Asmara Abigail), who successfully enter a dystopian organization, The Light, lead by the charismatic leader Ali Khan (Chicco Jericho). The Light offers a futuristic world that empowers the younger generation to be the best versions of themselves. After one year of developing their potential, they’ll marry their perfect partner at the age of 17 and live happily ever after.

A World Without tries to conduct the narratives of utopist ideas: a world without flaws. It’s interesting how the movies try to cover various issues from women’s empowerment, environmental crisis, the inequality of gender roles to underage marriage. The Light illuminates how the generation is controlled by how they perceive the ideas of perfection presented by media and society. But this is also its fallout. Although it conveys a strong, relatable message that resonates within the younger generation, the story itself is hasty and all over the place and loses its main intentions. A World Without is supposed to be ominous and thrilling yet fails on stirring the flow and momentum that leads to a bland, superficial, and unclear resolution.

Chicco Jericho did a decent job portraying the charismatic, flawless leader and delivering his dialogue. But it was not one of his best performances. One of the pitfalls of the movie is the lack of depth, motives, and development of the characters. At some point, it’s frustrating how I need a moment to understand the logical reasoning and the intention behind each character’s actions because it keeps juggling to the point that the characters are estranged from the story itself.

A World Without comes with jagged CGI editing but oddly refreshing for Indonesia’s cinematic experience. The selection of 1930’s vintage architect buildings as its primary location and the vehicles make it somehow unconvincing for futuristic elements. Although it offers a futuristic gadget and edgy fashion, it does not add eloquence to the sci-fi universe.

But on the brighter side, A World Without does have the potential despite its poor execution. It becomes enjoyable if you focus more on the meaning. For example, the use of beauty products represents how we perceive beauty to cover our imperfection; the forced underage marriage with a mix-matching concept creates hyperrealism about the ideal of marriage, especially for the younger generation. The Light is a cult that represents the darker side of the utopian dream that many come to offer on this distorted planet. 

So, this leaves us to the final choice: stream it or leave it? Well, try it at your own risk. 

What did you think of the Netflix film A World Without? Comment below.

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