In the future, our souls are software, stored on a ‘stack’ fused into the spine of your ‘sleeve’ – your physical body. So your personality can be backed up, loaded into a younger, cloned version of your body, or into another sleeve – even on a different planet. If you’ve got the money.
A group of highly skilled fighters called envoys once tried to prevent this new world order, in which the super-rich (‘meths’) can live forever. They failed.
The last surviving envoy, Takeshi Kovacs, whose stack has been in storage for 250 years, is brought back to life by a meth called Bancroft and promised a pardon in return for solving a murder: Bancroft’s. It happened after Bancroft’s last backup, so while he has been restored into a spare body, he has no memory of his final hours.
Altered Carbon might be heavily influenced by Blade Runner (and Joel Kinnaman’s too-cool-for-school Kovacs is hard to like) but it is still sci-fi at its best, exploring the moral consequences of technological leaps – in between the gore and full-frontal nudity.
There are also kick-ass female characters and some great performances (think a Latino grandmother waking up in the body of a tattooed male thug). But it’s pretty mind-bending, so watch the trailers to get up to speed. 8/10
Available on Netflix.