Visually mesmerizing and refreshingly cerebral, the sci-fi thriller Identicals presents a future where cloning is simply the order of business. The film’s tagline is “a new face, a new life, a new you,” and though the story treads on familiar ground, writer/director Simon Pummell manages to put an indelible stamp on the material.
Slater’s (Lachlan Nieboer) life seems to be going on track with a good job and a passionate, loving soulmate named Nadia (Brooklyn’s Nora-Jane Noone). After Nadia is abducted by a clandestine organization known as Brand New-U and an “identical” corpse is left in her stead, Slater attempts to save the day, only to become the company’s latest guinea pig.
After being outfitted with a new life and a slightly altered look, Slater is now part of the Brand New-U clan. Instead of fitting in with the crowd, he keeps an old photograph of he and Nadia, and keeping past memories and mementos is absolutely forbidden in the Brand New-U universe. Slater eventually stumbles upon a Nadia lookalike and though he tries to rekindle the relationship, forces at bay threaten their union.
Identical’s greatest asset lies in Simon Pummell’s ability to create an immersive world with a limited budget, as much of the film’s eerie yet seductive tone evokes the work of Philip K. Dick and director Alfred Hitchcock (most notably Vertigo and Rear Window).
Nieboer and Noone have done their share of films, but it’s great to see both actors front and center with Identicals, and both have a healthy enough chemistry to make Slater and Nadia’s union feel palpable.
Identicals contains a few action sequences, but the story should appeal to movie fans who love a bit of subtle seduction and mystery in a sci-fi thriller.
Special features: The DVD contains an insightful, 15-minute interview with director/writer Simon Pummell, who elaborates on how our fascination with social media can lead to a fragmented sense of identity. Also included is a four-minute Visual Effects Breakdown which takes a look at how various scenes in the picture were constructed with the use of green screen and artistic design.
***To hear my discussion of Identicals on this week’s CinemAddicts podcast, check out the Soundcloud bar below (the Identicals section starts at 53:37):
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