Two people stand in frame looking to the upper left corner of the frame. They look distraught. Still from Biosphere. Photo courtesy of Duplass Brothers Productions

Film Review: Biosphere

Film Reviews

Director: Mel Eslyn

Duplass Brother Productions
Released: 07.07

What I thought Mel Eslyn’s Biosphere was going to be and what I actually watched could not have been more different. While the film presents some interesting concepts, I was left feeling like I had just watched a half-finished movie.

Premiering at Sundance in 2022, Biosphere follows long-time friends Billy (Mark Duplass) and Ray (Sterling K. Brown) after an unspecified apocalyptic event leaves them confined to a biosphere. While stuck inside, Billy and Ray adapt and evolve in whatever way they can to survive.

As with many Duplass Brother Productions ( Duck Butter, ), Biosphere takes on a mumblecore feel, which I can’t say I’ve seen in many sci-fi films. The relationship between Billy and Ray is one of the movie’s saving graces; however, the film has a hard time finding its tone. One minute Billy and Ray will be doing an extended comedy bit about Mario, and in the next moment they’re having a deep conversation that seems to come out of left field. I didn’t know whether or not to take the plot seriously or to strap in for a more standard, IFC-esque comedy fare.

Biosphere tries to make a lot of interesting points about evolution, gender and masculinity. The sci-fi genre is a perfect place to explore these themes, but the inconsistency in the film’s tone throughout makes the discussions around these topics  less impactful. I feel if the script had gotten maybe one more pass a lot of these issues would be solved.

I’m a sucker for sci-fi in any way, shape or form. With all the more recent and notable sci-fi films taking a more serious approach to their story (Infinity Pool, Dune, etc.), I was ready for a less serious film. While Biosphere isn’t the worst film I have seen in the past year, it didn’t stick out to me as anything special and leaves me wishing for another attempt at a lower budget, indie sci-fi to come out in the next couple years. –Elle Cowley

Read more reviews of Duplass Brothers–inspired films:
Film Review: Emily the Criminal
Film Review: Language Lessons