‘Identicals’ is also called ‘Brand New U’, just in case you think they are two films.
Slater Brenan (actor Lachlan Nieboer) faces a hard kidnap when Nadia Savile (actress Nora-Jane Noone) is abducted in front of him. Although Slater stops one of them, he chases out into the street only to hear a public phone and answering, tells him to return inside. Looking under the mask, he sees the dead person has the face of Nadia. Another phone call tells him to go to work the next morning. His place of work is very technology based and Slater is informed that had he gone to the door, his Nadia would have been replaced with an Identical and no one would have been the wiser and she is safe. As it is, the dead body has been found and he is now wanted for murder. Slater finds himself coerced to have an Identical to replace him and finds himself with a new face for a great new life although he is beholden to the company. He is also told not to take anything with him but carries a photo of himself with Nadia.
Slater is told he is given what he needs not what he wants. Oddly, he keeps his original name or at least to those who keep an eye on him as he finds his new ‘friends’ aren’t really and he has a guardian watching what he does and isn’t happy that he kept a photo of Nadia. Eventually, after developing a relationship with whom he thinks is Nadia, they are split up and his photo taken and he’s given yet another new life.
After that, much of this film is given over to his search for the new Nadia and his own identity each time. Don’t expect this to be a conventional film as it has arts written all over it. The scenery is different and the music haunting. It just isn’t what you expect a Science Fiction film to be in the conventional sense about plot. There is no reason given for the changes or why it is allowed to go on. It is somewhat Stepfordy but keeps people around if you like.
In many respects, the film is very arty-farty when it comes to imagery and music and you really do need to focus on what is going on.
The 14 minute interview with director/writer Simon Pummell reveals that he got the idea from returning from Holland and seeing his old flat and realised that a duplicate of himself could carry on with his old life without disrupting his current one. Probably the one thing that doesn’t really come across is that Slater’s second life continues digitally. When you see the 4 minute look at the visual effects, very little is real, especially the backgrounds of the city so it would hardly have needed much change to make that significant.
Although I’m not entirely sure if Pummell is going to keep going in this direction, I think if he wants to explore Science Fiction better, he really needs to wrap a bit more plot around the story.
(region 2 DVD: pub: Arrow Films. 1 DVD 96 minute film with extras. Price: £15.99 (UK)
check out website: www.arrowfilms.co.uk/