Humane movie review & film summary (2024)

Stealing the film, Baruchel gives another unique performance (he always does) as a former anthropologist who has studied human nature enough to know how to stay on top of the food chain. Colantoni also gets some fun beats as a guy who has seen it all since the euthanasia order started, someone who might enjoy his job a little too much.

Sadly, everything else feels a little thin. Emily Hampshire, Alanna Bale, and Sebastian Chacon play the other three York children, and none of them register as three-dimensional, a fatal flaw in a film that relies on bounding characters off each other in a single setting. Hampshire’s an obvious sociopath who probably thinks the 20% number should be doubled, while Bale barely registers at all. Chacon, being the adopted York child, threatens to add an exciting layer to the debate that’s discarded for a twist.

This might be more forgivable if “Humane” had stronger visual language. Cronenberg eventually gets a little fun with close-ups of the bloody stuff, but the bulk of this film is surprisingly flat and poorly lit. It alternates from too dim to bizarre overhead bright lights that look like an interrogation room.

There are little bits of entertainment and insight buried throughout “Humane,” some in news footage about how the rest of the world is handling the crisis. The film is clearly a COVID allegory, with a patriarch who has profited from misinformation and fearmongering kicking off a single-setting thriller. However, all of this is concept more than execution. In the end, “Humane” is an interesting story told in a deeply uninteresting manner.