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  • Writer's pictureJack Aling

Dual - Review (Sundance Film Festival 2022)

I Promise I Won't Try to Murder You. 3.5 / 5

Directed by Riley Stearns.

A terminally ill woman opts for a cloning procedure to ease her loss on her friends and family. When she makes a miraculous recovery, her attempts to have her clone decommissioned fail and lead to a court-mandated duel to the death.

Intriguing from it's opening moments, Riley Sterarns' Dual is an Black Mirror episode set in the Yorgos Lanthimos universe.

As Karen Gillian has a double of herself created to ease the pain on her loved ones when she gets diagnosed with a terminal illness, things take a sinister turn when she unexpectedly goes into remission and discovers that only one version of herself is allowed to survive.

This off-kilter approach to death and individuality has so much emotion under the surface but immediately creates a feeling of unease when all the characters have an expressionless almost robotic demeanor that is played for both comedic and dramatic effect throughout. Gillian kills it letting just enough feeling through the cracks to play two compelling and different versions of the same character.

Even though the narrative is straightforward, this uses its twisted dream logic as an advantage to take some unexpected turns and decisions throughout. Despite a confident setup, it doesn't land with the impact it lays the groundwork for leaving the final product to be an amusing but somewhat aimless look into a sinister alternate reality.

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