IDENTICALS The new you blues
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.