There are a few types of movie that can be said to fit into the sci-fi genre; Star Trek, Star Wars, those sorts of things. But really, when you’re talking about true sci-fi films, you’re talking about things like Ex-Machina and this, Identicals.
Identicals is from writer/director Simon Pummell (Shock Head Soul, Bodysong) who makes his feature length debut. It’s a sci-fi film in the true sense of the word. The sort of sci-fi film that you’re not quite sure what’s going on at all times. It’s a bit slow, though I think that’s on purpose, you sort of feel like you’re having a bit of a breakdown watching it, along with the main protagonist. It’s that sort of sci-fi film, and it’s great.
The film stars Lachlan Niebor (Cross of Honour, Heartland) as Slater. He is seen celebrating his birthday with his girlfriend Nadia, played by Nora-Jane Noone (The Descent, Brooklyn) up until some people in masks come barging in and take his girlfriend, though not before she manages to brain oone of them with a heavy blunt item.
Before this Slater seemed to have a great life, after this, and his meeting with Brand New U, he is forced to become an Identical. An Identical is someone who has been given a new life. A new life that involves leaving everything you had behind, you take over someone’s life who looks and acts like you. As he moves through a series of parallel lives, he becomes more and more obsessed with finding his girlfriend, which he always manages to and yet is told not to by Brand New U, although sometimes they appear to be helping him. See, sci-fi.
There’s cut-backs, references, the same people in different roles at different times and, in the end, Slater is given a gun and a choice…which does he choose, well, that would be telling.
Pummell makes some beautiful transition shots (one in particular involving a ceiling to the outside of a building in slow-mo is stunning) and handles the camera with aplomb. As I mentioned previously, the movie is slow, though only 1.5 hours long, but this appears to be done on purpose, to mess with you further, and it works.
A love story involving parallel lives, multiple, yet the same, people and lots and lots of music. Lots of music. It’s not perfect, but it’s a damn good sci-fi film and it’s a fantastic feature debut.