Foe Review – A dull, dystopian kitchen sink drama

By Romey Norton
Published: January 5, 2024 (Last updated: last month)
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Foe Review
Saoirse Ronan and Paul Mescal in Foe | Image via Prime Video
2.5

Summary

Ambition and A-list actors don’t make up for this lackluster look into a dry and dull future.

You’d think a robotic replacement for a husband could be a fun and intriguing look into a possible future — with AI taking over and all that. However, not even Academy Award nominees Saoirse Ronan and Paul Mescal can save this low-key and weak script. I had high expectations for Amazon Studios’ Foe, but it’s not making my favorite list this year. 

The two stars take the lead roles as Hen (Ronan) and Junior (Mescal) in a screenplay based on bestselling author Iain Reid’s haunting exploration of marriage and identity set in an uncertain world. The seemingly perfect couple’s life is thrown into turmoil when a stranger shows up at their door with a startling proposal. Is the couple willing to risk their relationship, and their personal identity, for a chance to continue survival in a new world? Well, they have no choice.

Foe is a science fiction psychological thriller, but the script doesn’t live up to the expectations. It’s set roughly forty years into the future — which doesn’t seem too far away — and predominantly on a farm. The sci-fi elements are clunky at times and could have been left out; I don’t feel they add or take away anything from the core content of the film. 

Foe does give its audiences mesmerizing imagery and persistent questions about the nature of humanity (and artificial humanity) in the near future. It will make you think, feel, and question everything about life and love and how your environment affects your relationships. I just wish it had been more daring and dark, like the famous series Black Mirror. The film doesn’t push the limits at all and feels tepid and safe.

Hen and Junior’s chemistry gave me sibling vibes at first, and whilst they stand out in their own roles in their own way, they didn’t always gel well together on screen. I think this could have worked better with an older couple, a pair in their 50s/60s who have a history and could have brought more complexity and had more to fear and lose. I also think this could make a great stage production. 

Terrance, the man from the Climate Migration Strategy, moves in to watch and test to see if Junior is fit and ready to leave, completely disrupting an already strained couple’s disjointed life. It’s a strange concept to adapt and it did not work for me. There’s a little twist which is the most compelling part, but it’s not well led up to, and then doesn’t drive the film anymore forward. If they had started with this earlier, and then led on, it could have been a great film. 

Overall the film offers some interesting thought-provoking scenes and scenarios, but the storyline is dull and as dry as their desert farmland.

For the short runtime and captivating imagery, Foe is worth checking out. However, the film isn’t as compelling or gripping as you’d expect, and some of the more exciting parts are cut short. If anything, you can watch the excellent Black Mirror episode which has the same premise and is done in half the time.

What did you think of Foe? Comment below.


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