Netflix’s Altered Carbon lands on the streaming service tomorrow, and it’s basically your next favourite binge. Partly because it’s beautifully directed, partly because it’s insanely violent, and partly because this future tale of an immoral global elite who’ve used their wealth to become immortal is weirdly reflective of the times we’re living in.
The show’s grim future view of reality is uncomfortably close to our own – and it’s part of a growing telly trend that includes shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale and Westworld, inspired by the current political climate.
“That’s why we’re seeing so many dystopian future tales right now,” Joel Kinnaman says. “I think we’re all feeling like we’re not moving in the right direction. Humans as a species has a couple of existential threats that we need to unite around, to solve.”
“And the world leadership right now, impersonated by Donald Trump, is trying to divide much more, and is actively taking measures that’s damaging the environment instead of trying to reverse the trend. That’s a big reason why we’re seeing these stories.”
When it comes to Trump specifically, Altered Carbon features a bunch of rich powerful people who like to do some pretty weird stuff to keep themselves entertained, safe in the knowledge that they’ll never have to face any consequences. Sound like anyone you know?
“He has a lot of action,” James Purefoy says about Trump. “But very little consequence. It’s up to other people to pull him up on those. It’s up to the GOP, it’s up to congress, it’s up to the senate, it’s up to people in America.”
But what if the technology to allow people to live forever did exist in our world?
“I think everyone gets really excited about the idea of getting the opportunity to live forever,” Kinnaman says. “But mortality is one of the great fail-saves that we have. And don’t forget that if immortality was available to the ultra-rich, that would mean Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump would live forever. And if that’s not a horror story, I don’t know what is.”
“People say there are two certainties in the world,” James Purefoy adds. “Death and taxes. If there was no death, for Donald Trump there’d be no death or no taxes. Horrifying.”
Altered Carbon lands on Netflix on 2 February.
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