S1m0ne (2002) (DVD review).

When director Viktor Taransky (actor Al Pacino) is too busy to see a dying admirer and computer genius Hank Aleno (Elias Koteas), he later finds himself bequeathed a piece of software called Simulation One which turns out to be a computer simulation of a woman, Simone, that responds motion capture wise to his movements. Viktor creates a movie that people respond to and their positively love Simone and becomes a whole industry. Keeping Simone secret and giving her physical presence then becomes Viktor’s full time occupation. Simone is a media sensation with many admirers in and out of the industry and even when reporters try to track her down, fail. Then again, how could they succeed, she’s never there in the first place.


In many respects, ‘S1m0ne’, even though a dozen years old, still has some relevance as digital beings become ever more life-like. I doubt if we’re that far away from more realistic CGI happening. After all, we already use motion capture and can decorate the actor with whatever is needed for a production which saves hours in the make-up chair. If anything, this film shows the problems with celebrity status and how over the top it is. Are we in love with the image or the real person behind them? It’s a shame that aspect wasn’t covered because more, even with a sense of humour. Looking at this would have made people think more about the celebrity cult which I tend to find tiring. Then again, I’ve never quite got this hero worship thing myself.

I can see why Pacino chose to do this film, even if a lot of the time, he is acting alone. I guess if there is ever an update to this film then it would be giving the likes of Simone an artificial intelligence but then, you would then have a version of ‘Automan’, which just goes to show that there are no new idea under the sun.

GF Willmetts

April 2014

(region 2 DVD: pub: New Line Productions EDR 4009. 117 minute film with extras. Price: about £ 2.00 (UK) if you know where to look)

English sub-titles

cast: Al Pacino, Rachel Roberts, Catherine Keener, Pruitt Taylor Vince and Winona Ryder

check out website: www.warnerbros.com

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