• Rebecca Cho

Top Dystopian Films to Watch in Quarantine


Art by Alyssa Paek

Divergent

Directed by Neil Burger, Divergent tells the story of Tris, a girl living in a futuristic society where the community is separated into five sectors. Once each child becomes an adult, they must choose one faction and Tris chooses the faction of bravery, Dauntless. Soon, she discovers she is a “Divergent” - a person that fits more than one faction - and is forced to hide her identity. The story follows her process in discovering identity and friendship as she battles with a society that values competition and class.


Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Zoe Kravitz, Kate Winslet


Time to Hunt

Directed by Yoon Sung-Hyun, Time to Hunt narrates the plot of a group of young men who plan a robbery on an illegal gambling house to get a large sum of American dollars and escape their dystopian world. South Korea is depicted to be a dystopian “Hell” as society enters a capitalist apocalypse and the Korean won becomes worthless. While the robbery goes successfully, the group unintentionally attracts the attention of a killer and the chase occurs.

Yoon wanted to direct his film towards young people of modern society and their emotions of wrestling survival and feeling as if they are in a living “Hell” themselves. Similar to how our world may appear, the film’s setting is an abyss of growing inequality, corruption, and struggle.


Cast: Woo-shik Choi, Je-hoon Lee, Hae-soo Park, Jae-hong Ahn, Jung-min Park


The Giver

Directed by Phillip Noyce, The Giver is a film version of the young adult novel, written by Lois Loery in 1993. Both the book and film follows the story of twelve-year-old Jonas living in a society directed and controlled by the rules and traditions of ‘The Elders’. As each person receives a position, Jonas receives authority as the Receiver of Memory. As he explores his role in society, he starts to discover himself, the truth of a dystopian community disguised as a utopia, and questions individuality, wisdom, tradition, and freedom of choice.


Cast: Brenton Thwaites, Taylor Swift, Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Odeya Rush


Planet of the Apes

Directed by Tim Burton, the 2001 film was a loose remake of the 1968 classic film as well as the 1963 novel written by Pierre Boulle. As an astronaut travels through time, he discovers a futuristic planet in which apes rule over humans. The apes are highly intellectual with human-like characteristics such as being bipedal, having the ability to talk, and establishing their own class and political system. For the first time, humans are the inferior race. This film explores complex sociological issues and could be considered satire of the human race. Questioning animal cruelty, race superiority, and evolution, Burton also depicts the hazy boundary between just research and abuse, as well as what it means to be a “human.”


Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Helena Bonham Carter, Estella Warren, Tim Roth, Michael Clarke Duncan


Okja

Directed by Bong Joon-ho, CEO Lucy Mirando creates a species of genetically engineered super-pigs, one of which is the titular character, Okja. Okja gets sent to its caretakers, a Korean farmer and his granddaughter Mija, where Mija and Okja become best friends. Once Okja is recruited back to the company for consumer purposes, Mija ventures on a quest to rescue Okja and initiates an alliance with animal rights activists to expose the company’s corruption and abuse. Through an engaging story, this film targets the question of ethics among humanity and a balance between animal rights and capitalism driven by corporate greed.


Cast: Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Ahn Seo-Hyun, Steven Yeun, Lily Collins


Comment on which movies you watch and any other movies that you think should be on this list!


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