IDENTICALS The new you blues

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased 22 aU­gUsT 2016 | 15 | dVd Di­rec­tor si­mon Pum­mell Cast lach­lan Nieboer, Nora-Jane Noone, Nick Blood, Tony Way

The fea­ture film de­but of praise­bombed doc­u­men­tary maker Si­mon Pum­mell (Bodysong), Identicals is a visu­ally im­pres­sive, if slightly chilly, SF tech thriller star­ring Down­ton Abbey’s Lach­lan Nieboer as a man who’s given a “life up­grade” by the sin­is­ter Brand New-U cor­po­ra­tion.

Tak­ing place in ei­ther a fu­ture Lon­don or an al­ter­na­tive re­al­ity (ei­ther way, it seems iPhone ring­tones are the same as in 2016), there’s barely a shot that isn’t visu­ally gor­geous. The movie has a steely, bur­nished look, and Pum­mell’s cam­era moves with pan­ther-like grace. His script, how­ever, is less sure-footed, mis­tak­ing spar­sity for pro­fun­dity.

Nieboer gives a rather stiff per­for­mance as Slater, while Nora-Jane Noone has lit­tle to do as Na­dia, the love of his (other) life and the rea­son why Brand New-U keeps drop­ping in on him for a warn­ing beat­ing.

Identicals is un­de­ni­ably thought-stir­ring, but its aus­ter­ity makes it an ar­du­ous watch. With its Bri­tish lo­cales and ac­cents, it feels like a lost episode of Black Mir­ror, and it’s easy to imag­ine that Char­lie Brooker would have told this story with a lot more heart.

Ex­tras Di­rec­tor in­ter­view (14 min­utes); ef­fects break­down (four min­utes). Steve O’Brien

The germ of the idea for Pum­mell came driv­ing past his old Lon­don flat af­ter start­ing a new life in Am­s­ter­dam.

Fin­gers: even more nu­mer­ous in mir­rors.

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