Starring: Sterling K. Brown and Mark Duplass
Director: Mel Eslyn
Biosphere is a trip. Led by two fantastic performances from Sterling K. Brown and Mark Duplass, this film is great at subverting expectations. Brown and Duplass play off each other well, with Brown in particular giving what is his best feature performance to date. Biosphere was a late addition to the TIFF schedule last year, with little information about it, and that was the perfect way to debut, harkening back to when Cloverfield Paradox had its surprise release on Netflix (but with much better results). It’s best to keep the mystery of this film intact, but make sure you check it out.
In what may be the most Duplass-y movie of The Duplass Brothers’ catalog, Biosphere is out there (a tremendous compliment). It’s hard to discuss details without exposing things you shouldn’t know (go in as cold as possible), but Biosphere is a strange examination of friendship, partnership, masculinity, identity, and survival. Sterling K. Brown, who continues to prove he should be elevated to A-List status, is terrific, while Mark Duplass essentially plays the same person he always does (it’s not a bad thing, but he only has one speed as an actor). This odd duck won’t be for everyone, but I loved it.
It’s best to go into Biosphere sight unseen, but understand that Sterling K. Brown (Ray) and Mark Duplass (Billy) are the last two humans on Earth; then let their unique charm and chemistry carry you until the story kicks in. And boy does it kick in. Trust me when I say that they skillfully and hilariously navigate topics of science, politics, sexuality, friendship, prejudice, belief, gender identity, and learned behavior all in one setting, in under two hours, with just the two of them speaking and reacting to each other. This charmingly interesting look into the human psyche is nothing like you’ve ever seen before.
I’m telling you right now, Biosphere is not what you expect it to be at all. It’s an ambitious little film flowing with interesting themes that are executed in such an odd, but intriguing way. The film loses itself a wee bit with its pacing and simplicity, but I promise you this singular location flick is one worth checking out. This unique and claustrophobic gem allows Sterling K. Brown and Mark Duplass to build great chemistry between their characters, almost like they are Mario and Luigi.
This film was reviewed by Nick and Quentin as part of Bitesize Breakdown's coverage of the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival.