You might think you know everything about a romantic thriller flick. Well, think again. Identicals (2015) tells the story of a controversial but elusive organization called Brand New-U which oversees networks of people, choosing “identicals” (people who essentially have all the same characteristics as you, but has a better life) for their clients who want more out of life. When protagonist Slater’s girlfriend is claimed by the corporation after she matches one of their clients, he goes on the hunt to find her. Soon, he finds himself becoming an identical, jumping through parallel lives and going further down the rabbit hole of existing in dualism.
The premise itself is very interesting and abstract, but the pace is very slow and gets a little tired in some scenes, especially with the dreary atmosphere. A patient viewer who is questioning “what is real and what isn’t” would enjoy how this movie plays out. That said, the atmosphere really adds to the film and that modernistic look. The scenes are well-shot with wide, isolation-steeped frames and a simple colour palette of black, gray, white, and pale blue in almost every scene with a few jarring exceptions. The look of the movie can be chalked up to a cold, modern Apple store design as Slater explores his “better self” in the company’s halls.
Identicals (2015) comes as U.K. director Simon Pummel’s first full-length feature film, previously having only produced shorts and documentaries. The direction was well-done, especially with how the shots were framed. The writing – especially by the film’s end – was a bit vague and ambiguous, leading to confusion even to people who were attentive throughout the film’s exposition.
The acting was more or less what you would expect of a directorial debut to an indie flick, but it’s certainly not straight-to-DVD quality acting, it’s definitely above that. The film stars Lachlan Nieboer who previously didn’t take part in many starring roles – this one being the only leading part I could find in his career. His acting was passable, though there were certain moments I felt there was a certain disconnect to how he reacts and how he should be reacting (for instance, him not being as concerned seeing his dead girlfriend near the beginning of the movie as he should be). It improves later on. The acting that does stand out a little more is that of Nick Blood who adds to the film’s cold creepiness with his eerie acting. Unfortunately, he’s not in it as often.
Essentially, Identicals (2015) comes as an O.K. time-waster and is a mildly interesting sci-fi. It puts too much emphasis on being visually pleasing than it does on plot and writing. Again, the pacing also leaves much to be desired. It’s impressive what they were able to do through an indie movie and some of the scenes are moving, but if you’re looking for a mind-bending indie science fiction film, you’d do better to see something like Duncan Jones’ Moon (2009).